Restoration of Palaeopropithecus ingens
|Species|| †P. ingens|
The Palaeopropithecus was one of three recently extinct genera of sloth lemur that was found on Madagascar, and were closely related to living lemur species found there today. There were three known species, Palaeopropithecus ingens, P. maximus, and P. kelyus. New radiocarbon dates indicate that these large sloth lemurs may have still been living around 1500 CE. It is thought that Palaeopropithecus ingens is mentioned in Malagasy legends as the tretretretre or tratratratra.
Palaeopropithecus was long believed to be an aquatic creature, swimming with its eyes, ears and nostrils just above the water. However, this theory was based on misattributed postcranial remains. Charles Lamberton thoroughly refuted this in 1957. Fossils previously assigned to crania of other species were then reassigned to Palaeopropithecus. Postcranial evidence suggests a highly arboreal lifestyle with suspension locomotion, hence the name sloth lemur.