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March 20, 2020

The Aye-aye's secret finger

The world’s weirdest little primate has gotten even weirder, thanks to the discovery of a tiny extra digit. A study led by NSF-funded researchers at North Carolina State University has found that aye-ayes possess small “pseudothumbs” – complete with their own fingerprints – that may help them grip objects and branches as they move through trees. This is the first accessory digit ever found in a primate. The research was supported by NSF grant #1557125 Macroevolutionary Analyses of Cranial Morphology and Function in Mammals and NSF Grant #1440599 Collaborative Research: Skeletal muscle constraint on relative brain size.

Credit: Video by Adrian Smith & Photos courtesy Duke Lemur Center/David Haring

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