Leaping Lemurs

Duke's Lemur Center preserves and protects lemurs — unique primates that are the ancient relatives of monkeys, apes and humans. Lemurs evolved in isolation on Madagascar, but are threatened as the island's population grows. Researchers study behavior, genomics, physiology and conservation biology.

NGSS Performance Expectation: Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual species’ chances to survive and reproduce.

Grade 4 NC Essential Science Standard: Explain how animals meet their needs by using behaviors in response to information received from their environment.

Discussion Questions

  1. List 5 characteristics that make lemurs unique. 
  2. Which behavioral strategies are the Duke Lemurs using to meet their needs: instinct, migration, hibernation, or learned behaviors?
  3. Which of these behavioral changes will serve the animal best in a changing climate?
  4. What is the lemur’s social structure?
  5. List 5 other mammals that have a complex social structure.

Additional Links

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur — Diagram of Lemur coloration for students to color.
  • Evidence of Social Learning in Wild Lemurs — Peer-reviewed article PDF
  • Duke Lemur Center — Organizational Website.
  • Lemur Social Structure — Online textbook chapter
  • Facts about Lemurs — Online textbook



UNC-TV Media

Correlated to the Following Standards