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Mammals Rafted To Madagaskar

January 21, 2010
The idea of “rafting” first emerged in 1940, but some argued that a “land bridge” allowed animals to walk there.

This meant that the 430km (270 mile) Mozambique Channel that separates the two landmasses was located in a different ocean “gyre” (circular ocean current), which had an important impact on the direction and strength of the currents within the channel.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Mammals ‘floated to Madagascar’
The ancestors of the current mammals found on the island of Madagascar could have been transported on floating vegetation from Africa, a study says.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island on the planet, is deemed one of the world’s biological hotspots.

Because of its isolation, most of its mammals, half its birds, and many of its plant species exist nowhere else on Earth.

The first mammals are believed to have appeared on the island about 60 million years ago, 100 million years after the landmass was thought to have separated from Africa.

This led to the emergence of two main hypotheses on how mammals managed to inhabit the island: via a “land bridge” or floating vegetation.

The idea of “rafting” first emerged in 1940, but some argued that a “land bridge” allowed animals to walk there.

Ring-tailed lemurs (Image: PA)

Map showing location of Madagascar (Image: BBC)

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