Duke Athletics revealed the Blue Devil to be eight ring-tailed lemurs stacked in a modified trench coat after students caught sight of a lemur tail during a wardrobe malfunction at the last home game.
Director of Athletics Nunya Bing defended the move by stating that the actual human mascots were too burnt out, so they had to outsource to other primates.
“We were really excited to learn from the Lemur Center about a study on the cooperative mobility of primates,” Bing said. “Using positive reinforcement, we were able to train the lemurs to coordinate to move as one unit.”
“The lemurs are incredible,” explains Dr. Leah Mur, the principal investigator in the study. “We have made a lot of progress in the past few months – the lemurs can now ride bikes and climb the Duke Chapel.”
However, the Coalition for Animal Safety has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, citing the claustrophobic conditions of the costume as “inhumane.”
“It’s hard to cram eight lemurs into the costume, but we keep them healthy,” Bing wrote in an email to The Chomicle. “Either way, it’s not as bad as tenting in K-Ville.”
Now that the secret is out, students are requesting that the lemurs be treated like real students. Some of them are demanding the primates receive athlete backpacks, electric scooters, a food plan — even on-campus housing.
Duke University President Vinny Cost has also praised the move to “give our primate cousins a larger role in the Duke community,” citing the lower water intake of the lemurs as a contribution to the “sustainable operations” pillar of the Climate Commitment.
Editor's Note: Happy April Fools' Day! In case you couldn't tell, this was a story for our satirical edition, The Chomicle. Check out more Chomicle stories here, guaranteed to make you laugh or your money back.
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