Word of the Week (119): NAGAPIE (probability 3672), by David Sutton

NAGAPIE is an Afrikaans name for the small nocturnal primate known as the BUSHBABY or GALAGO; the name means 'little night monkey'. While bushbabies look remarkably endearing with their large eyes and batlike ears, keeping them as pets is not recommended, since like other primates they can harbour ZOONOSES — a ZOONOSIS is an animal disease that can cross the species barrier and be transmitted to humans.

Primates are a great source of exotic vocabulary for the Scrabble player. Other lower primates of the lemuroid kind (known as PROSIMIANS) include the LORIS or slender lemur of India and Sri Lanka, the MACACO, the MALMAG, which is a kind of TARSIER found in the Philippines, the ANGWANTIBO of tropical Africa, also known as the golden POTTO because of its colouring, and the BABACOOTE and SIFAKA which are true lemurs and hence are found only in Madagascar.

One should also given an honourable mention to the COLUGO of South East Asia, popularly known as the flying lemur: though the COLUGO is not classified as a primate, it does belong to the same clade as the primates, along with tree-shrews. We'll look at the higher orders of primate next week.


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