One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rare nocturnal Madagascan primate allied to the lemurs. It has rodentlike incisor teeth and an elongated twiglike finger on each hand with which it pries insects from bark.
- ‘Fossils suggest that lemurs, bush babies, lorises, aye-ayes, and their relatives (the prosimians) split off from the ancestors of monkeys and apes around 55 million years ago.’
- ‘You'll see some of the island's wildlife - indri, aye-aye, and sifaka to name a few - and gain a deep understanding of their place in one of the world's most unique ecosystems.’
- ‘They open a hole with their rodent-like incisors and extract their prey with their elongated fourth finger and long tongue - a manner of foraging very much like the primates, aye-ayes.’
- ‘The fact that humans have a large frontal cortex doesn't necessarily mean that they are special; relatively large frontal lobes have developed independently in aye-ayes among the lemurs and spider monkeys among the New World monkeys.’
- ‘So do wombats, hyraxes, aye-ayes, and lagomorphs, to give a few examples chosen from modern mammals.’
Late 18th century: from French, from Malagasy aiay.
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