Madagascar Animals 马达加斯加动物
By Jon Stewart, Science Desk, BBC
Madagascar's unique lemurs, flying foxes, and mongooses first started to appear about 60 million years ago, but it's been separated from the mainland, and isolated, for at least 100 million years.
The mystery has been, how did they get there, and why are there no giraffes, elephants and big cats?
Professor Matthew Huber from Perdue University in the US:
"The mammals that appear on Madagascar today may have come over on rafts, and by rafts what we mean are trees that may have fallen into a river and been swept out to sea or a large floating mass of matted vegetation that broke off the coast and headed out to sea."
The ocean currents today go the wrong way - from Madagascar to mainland Africa, but Professor Huber used a climate model - the same type we use to predict the future, and effectively ran it backwards to look at the distant past.
He found that the ocean currents used to go the other way, and were strong enough that the animals would have reached the island without dying of thirst.