Congratulations Dr Blanchard

i-42c024dfc740e487fc9462a7afd7398d-Mary likes to sit in the forest, taking notes.jpg

Specializing on locomotor ecology*, my good, long-standing friend Mary Blanchard of the University of Liverpool's Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology has been spending a lot of time on Madagascar over the past several years, and has been looking at a lot of wild lemurs. She has studied the ecology of wild indris Indri indri, Diademed sifakas Propithecus diadema and Grey bamboo lemurs Hapalemur griseus griseus, and has also collected data on the diets of wild Ring-tailed lemurs Lemur catta, Verreaux's sifaka Propithecus verreauxi and Black-and-white ruffed lemurs Varecia variegata.

* The study of how specific styles of gait and movement contribute to an animal's use of its environment.

She has seen a boa constrict a dwarf lemur and all other kinds of neat stuff, and has amassed a frightening amount of data on the ecology and behaviour of the species she studies. In fact her 3-volume phd thesis comes in at 570 pp and over 94,000 words. And on that note we come to the reason for this little article: I am happy to report that Mary sailed through her viva the other day, and now joins the select few who go by that most venerable of titles. Congratulations Dr Blanchard!

Incidentally, Mary has never quite agreed with my contention that the extant lemurs are 'the boring ones'. Well, ok. But give me giant sloth lemurs and koala lemurs over ring-tails any day :) Having said that, the only lemurs I've yet blogged about are sifakas (ver 1 here)... although the Alaotra lemur Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis (the only primate that spends its life living over water) was mentioned in the pochard article here. Must correct that.

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Thanks Darren for that glowing review!

Extant lemurs are definitely NOT boring. You should write more about them and all the other wonderful fauna of Madagascar. It is a very cool country.

By Mary Blanchard (not verified) on 07 Dec 2007 #permalink

Well, I'd be a bit worried if you did find them boring! And I don't mean they're boring per se.. just, more boring than giant sloth lemurs and koala lemurs and giant aye-ayes and short-faced baboon lemurs..

By the way, I have some more lemur toys to show you - this time they're red ruffed lemurs.

If Darren finds extant lemurs too boring, maybe he could host a guest post extolling their virtues from someone who finds them fascinating. Darren could respond with a typical TetZoo post making the case for the extinct lemurs. If only Darren knew someone who was up on extant lemurs ...

My interest should be transparent here :-)

Congratulations, Dr Blanchard, from one of Darren's peanut gallery.

By Mike from Ottawa (not verified) on 07 Dec 2007 #permalink

Wait a minute... I knew about Palaeopropithecus, Archaeoindris and Megaladapis, and even Daubentonia robusta, but is Archaeolemur the short-faced baboon lemur you speak of?

You ought to do a post on the vanished fauna of Madagascar, especially the extinct hippopotamus, giant fossa, and the large birds of prey.

Oh shucks, now I keep thinking of the singing and dancing lemurs in the movie Madagascar...

I like to move it, move it
I like to move it, move it
I like to move it, move it
You like to... MOVE IT! =)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_r2psdrQkM

It may not be immediately apparent that the lemur who sings that is voiced by Simon Baron-Cohen, aka Borat.

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 07 Dec 2007 #permalink

"...3-volume phd thesis comes in at 570 pp and over 94,000 words..."

Did the faculty in that department have some sort of competition regarding who could make their student write the largest thesis?

"giant aye-ayes"?
ooooh...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 08 Dec 2007 #permalink

Three volumes and 94,000 words. Is there a contest in academic publishing for slimmest thesis book ever produced? Ninety-four thousand words isn't a book, it's the cornerstone in an anthology. Doc, when you can produce one million words in a single manuscript then we'll talk.

Three volumes for 94,000 words. Them better be some pretty damn impressive words.