06th - 11th October 2016
bande annonce

Life force

Friday 07th October 2011 from 10h15 to 11h45
Salle 2 / Grand Amphithéâtre

Directed by
Masahiro Hayakawa
Produced by
France Télévisions, NHK, Natural History New Zealand Ltd / Diff : France 5

Documentary, France, 2010, 52 min

Madagascar is an island like no other. Lying 400 kilometres off the coast of Africa, it’s often referred to as the “seventh continent”. Every corner of Madagascar is inhabited by lemurs – a unique primate found nowhere else on the planet. Foraging in the dark of night, the gremlin-like aye-aye looks sinister, with a freakishly long middle finger. The morning mist is pierced by haunting howls made by the Indri. They are the loudest high pitched call of any lemur. Huddled in a hollow tree is the Mouse Lemur... the smallest primate in the world, weighing in at about four ounces. What forces created such bizarre adaptations?

With more than 100 distinct species, Madagascar’s lemurs are more numerous than any other primate group in the world. How did this come to be? Why did so many species evolve here but nowhere else in the world? Amazingly the answer can be found in the behaviour of the tiny Mouse Lemur. Its ability to hibernate might shed light on the very first lemur species. Against all odds, it seems a forlorn castaway from Africa may have been able to survive to reach Madagascar millions of years ago, giving rise to all lemurs that exist today.

Alongside the strange lemurs are even stranger beasts... ancient insects, astonishing chameleons, and an aquatic mammal. But this paradise was not destined to remain theirs alone... A small carnivore also arrived on Madagascar, and what it became is something out of a nightmare.


Debate with :

  • Delphine Roullet, in charge of the primates at the Parc Zoologique de Paris, primatologist
  • Dominique Gommery, CNRS research director, working on the development of subfossil lemurs