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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 05:40 GMT
Endangered lemurs get Fawlty name
John Cleese
Comedian John Cleese is well known for his work with lemurs
Known for his work in highlighting their plight, comedian John Cleese has now had a new species of lemur named after him.

The avahi cleesei was discovered in western Madagascar in 1990 by a team of scientists from Zurich University.

Now the researchers have named the primate - which weighs less than a kilo - after the Monty Python star.

Lemurs are considered the most endangered of all primates and live only on Madagascar.

The island has evolved in isolation for 165 million years.

Lemurs are the closest living analogues to our ancient primate ancestors who lived about 55 million years ago
One-third of species are extinct
Remaining species are under threat from hunting and habitat destruction

The team of scientists, led by anthropologist Urs Thalmann and his colleague Thomas Geissman, named the lemur in tribute to Cleese's promotion of the plight of the animal in the film Fierce Creatures and in a documentary Operation Lemur With John Cleese.

Mr Thalmann told the New Scientist magazine that long legs are not the only attribute lemurs share with Cleese.

"Woolly lemurs can't really walk - but they do enjoy silly jumps," he said.

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