I Heart Indies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Indri

A French naturalist asked a Malagasy the name of that weird animal, and the Malagasy pointed and said, "Indri?" meaning, "there?" because there are lots of weird animals in Madagascar.  And that's how the indri got its name.

Alas, that story is about as true as the one where the elephant gets its trunk, but it's a good one, nevertheless.

The indri is a great big lemur and is also called babakoto, which means "ancestor" because somehow the Malagasies tumbled onto the notion they'd descended from lemur-like animals, which is pretty smart of the Malagasies.  According to the myth, there were two brothers, one of whom decided to climb down from the tree and try his hand at farming, while the other stayed put.  We're descended from the one who left the tree.  The loud songs of the indri, which can last up to three minutes, are the indri calling for their lost brother.

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