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Three's a party: Duke Lemur Center welcomes triplets

The new school year has brought a wave of first-years and now, baby lemurs. 

The Duke Lemur Center now has a set of triplet gray mouse lemurs, born July 24, in its care. The three lemurs—Teazel, Pumpernickel and Bee Balm—care members of one of the world's smallest species of primates, which are said to weigh between one-and-a-half and 3 ounces once fully grown. 

That's about as much as two slices of bread. 

"Each infant has gained weight steadily and all three are warm, full, and well cared for," the Lemur Center wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday. 

Prior to recently, scientists had believed grey mouse lemurs were indeed the smallest primates in the world—until they discovered that the pygmy mouse lemur was not actually extinct. 

Duke's center is the only breeding colony for the species in America, with a total of 48 gray mouse lemurs. Gray mouse lemurs are one of the least threatened species of lemurs. 

The Chronicle reported in March 2017 that a Duke research team found that mouse lemurs may be pivotal in finding a cure to Alzheimer's disease. 

"If the hypothesis holds up, it could help identify people at risk sooner, before they develop symptoms, or point to new ways to delay onset or slow progression of the disease," the Lemur Center wrote on its website. 

A different Duke team published a paper Aug. 30 which could help researchers tally endangered lemur populations in an unconventional way—counting trees, not lemurs. Ninety-five percent of all lemurs are currently at risk of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Ben Leonard

Managing Editor 2018-19, 2019-2020 Features & Investigations Editor 

A member of the class of 2020 hailing from San Mateo, Calif., Ben is The Chronicle's Towerview Editor and Investigations Editor. Outside of the Chronicle, he is a public policy major working towards a journalism certificate, has interned at the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News and frequents Pitchforks. 


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