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National Geographic Ultimate Explorer correspondent Mireya Mayor helped discover what could be a brand new species of mouse lemur -- the smallest primate in the world.
msnbc.com
updated 12/1/2003 4:32:07 PM ET 2003-12-01T21:32:07

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer correspondent Mireya Mayor has just helped discover what could be a new species of mouse lemur — the smallest primate in the world — and it’s already under threat. Now, she must protect it, and, in this case, size is everything. Airs Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m. ET

WHEN MAYOR and her colleagues from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo found the surprisingly tiny mouse lemur deep in the wilds of Madagascar, she took photos, measured it, weighed it and released the animal back into its habitat. Upon her return to the United States, she gathered more support for her suspicion: She had just helped discover what was most likely a previously unknown species.

Now, Mayor returns to Madagascar. If she can find more of the tiny mouse lemurs, she can confirm the discovery. And, if she can establish the uniqueness of the species, Mayor might be able to generate enough interest and awareness to have the tiny creature’s threatened realm incorporated into a national park, protecting it from logging and future habitat loss.

Hollywood’s most famous primate — the legendary King Kong — once enthralled audiences by cupping a delicate Fay Wray in his hand, not harming her but protecting her. Now the roles are reversed: The tiny primate in the palm of Mayor’s hand needs her protection to survive.

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