Temporal range: Pleistocene to Holocene (1280-1420 AD)
Megaladapis edwardsi II by darkbinder
A restoration of Megaladapis edwardsi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Megaladapidea
Genus: Megaladapis
Forsyth Major, 1894
Species: M. edwardsi
Binomial name
Megaladapis edwardsi
Forsyth Major, 1894

Megaladapis, also known as the giant or koala lemur, is the genus of three extinct lemur species called Megaladapidae that once inhabited the island of Madagascar. The closest living relatives of this genus are the sportive lemurs, and together the two genera make up the Lepilemuridae family. However, Megaladapis was far different from any lemur. Its body was squat and built like that of the modern koala. Its long arms and fingers were specialized for grasping trees, while its legs were splayed for vertical climbling.

Additionally, its head was unlike any other primate. Megaladapis had long canine teeth and a cow-like jaw, forming a tapering snout. Its jaw muscles were powerful for chewing through the tough native vegetation. Overall, its body weight reached 50 kilograms.

Unfortunately, its tree-grasping attributes made Megaladapis vulnerable to changes to the forests of Madagascar. Upon human arrival 2,000 years ago, the forests of Madagascar were cleared to make farmland. Megaladapis, unable to adapt to these new environmental changes imposed by man and being a tempting target for hunters, became extinct approximately 500 years ago, around the time of European discovery of Madagascar. It is often believed that Malagasy legends of the tretretretre, an extinct animal, refer to Megaladapis, but the details of these tales, notably the "human-like" face of the animal, much related Palaeopropithecus.



Cultural references[]


In The Media[]

  • Megaladapis appeared in the documentary What Happened to the Mega Beasts.
  • Mutant Planet aka Planet Evolution episode "Madagascar".