Articles

Madagascar

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Madagascar map

 

THE ISLAND OF MADAGASCAR

The island of Madagascar is the land that time forgot.

Most of the animals that live here are found nowhere else on Earth. Scientists have learned that even 75 million years ago, Madagascar's dinosaurs were different from dinosaurs anywhere else on Earth!

Madagascar lies 300 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world. It broke off of Africa and became an island when dinosaurs were still living on Earth. Because of this, 85 percent of the plants and animals on Madagascar are unique to the island.

The baobab trees look like they were planted upside down. There's a special preserve on Madagascar to protect them.

There are many species of lemurs and chameleons that are only found on Madagascar.

The fossa looks like a dog and a cat. Its prey is the lemurs that live all around the island.

 

lemur madagascar

 

MADAGASCAR ANIMAL LOVERS

The country of Madagascar has many interesting and beautiful animals, like the Madagascar tree boa.

There are more kinds of chameleons here in Madagascar than anywhere else on Earth. Look closely at the chameleon's toes. They are joined together. He has two toes joined together on one side, and three toes joined together on the other side. And that's great for climbing.

There are small mammals that live on the forest floor, like this tenrec and her babies. Look at this baby! Ninety percent of the tenrec diet is insects. And they have a great sense of smell. It helps them catch prey.

But the most famous of Madagascar's animals is the tree-dwelling lemur. There are many different types of lemurs. They appeared on Madagascar about 55 million years ago. They have survived on Madagascar because there are no larger primates on the island. And, each kind of lemur found a different way to survive.

 

madagascar baobab

 

AT PRESENT

For hundreds of years, Madagascar was a very dangerous place. Europeans did not go there. Anyone who sailed there was killed by the Malagasy who lived there.

Madagascar became a French colony. Only a few very brave French explorers went there.

In 1896, some parts of a skeleton were sent to a French paleontologist. He said they were the bones of a very, very large dinosaur.

Today, paleontologists are looking for more dinosaur skeletons. The scientists shop at the market for food, water, and other things they need.

Scientists come to Madagascar to study the animals: both dinosaurs and animals that are living today. The scientists are important for the economy. They stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, and shop in the markets.

Science tourism helps the people of Madagascar make money for a better life.