The Madagascar Portal
Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic, French: République malgache), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar. They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species. Two thirds of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
As part of East Gondwana
, the territory of Madagascar split from Africa approximately 160 million years ago; the island of Madagascar was created when it separated from the Indian subcontinent
80 to 100 million years ago. Most archaeologists estimate that the human settlement of Madagascar happened between 200 and 500 A.D.
, when seafarers from southeast Asia (probably from Borneo
or the southern Celebes
) arrived in outrigger sailing canoes
settlers probably crossed the Mozambique Channel
to Madagascar at about the same time or shortly afterwards. However, Malagasy tradition and ethnographic evidence suggests that they may have been preceded by the Mikea
hunter gatherers. The Anteimoro who established a kingdom in Southern Madagascar in the Middle Ages trace their origin to migrants from Somalia
Mesopropithecus is an extinct genus of small to medium-sized lemur, or strepsirrhine primate, from Madagascar that includes three species, M. dolichobrachion, M. globiceps, and M. pithecoides. Together with Palaeopropithecus, Archaeoindris, and Babakotia, it is part of the sloth lemur family (Palaeopropithecidae). Once thought to be an indriid because its skull is similar to that of living sifakas, a recently discovered postcranial skeleton shows Mesopropithecus had longer forelimbs than hindlimbs—a distinctive trait shared by sloth lemurs but not by indriids. However, as it had the shortest forelimbs of all sloth lemurs, it is thought that Mesopropithecus was more quadrupedal and did not use suspension as much as the other sloth lemurs.
They are known only from subfossil remains and died out after the arrival of humans on the island, probably due to hunting pressure and habitat destruction. Mesopropithecus was one of the smallest of the extinct subfossil lemurs, but was still slightly larger than the largest living lemurs. Although rare, the three species were widely distributed across the island yet allopatric to each other, with M. dolichobrachion in the north, M. pithecoides in the south and west, and M. globiceps in the center of the island. All three species were primarily a leaf-eaters. (Read more...)
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Marc Ravalomanana (born December 12, 1949, in Imerinkasinina) is a Malagasy politician who was the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009. A member of the Merina ethnic group, Ravalomanana served as Mayor of Antananarivo before becoming President in 2002. He took office as President amidst a dispute over the results of the December 2001 presidential election in which he successfully pressed his claim to have won a majority in the first round. He was re-elected in December 2006, again with a majority in the first round.
In the municipal elections held on November 14, 1999, Ravalomanana was elected as mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, receiving 45% of the vote and defeating former Prime Minister Guy Willy Razanamasy. As mayor he was credited with successfully cleaning up the capital. He announced on August 5, 2001 that he would run for President in the election to be held later that year on December 16; two months later, polls showed him to be ahead of the incumbent president, Didier Ratsiraka.
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