Most people know him as the Minister for Silly Walks on “Monty Python” or as Q in James Bond films. But John Cleese will also go down in history for another reason: lemurs.
Researchers from the University of Zurich have named a newly discovered species of lemur — one of the most primitive and endangered primates in the world — after the British comedian in honor of his work with the animal.
The avahi cleesei, which weighs less than two pounds and eats leaves, was discovered in Western Madagascar in 1990 by a team led by anthropologist Urs Thalmann and his colleague Thomas Geissman of Zurich University.
The name is a tribute to Cleese’s promotion of the plight of lemurs in the movie “Fierce Creatures” and documentary “Operation Lemur with John Cleese,” the university said in a statement. A lemur even appears next to Cleese on his Web site.
The lemur’s long legs are the only physical attribute it shares with Cleese, Thalmann told New Scientist magazine. “Woolly lemurs can’t really walk — but they do enjoy silly jumps,” he said.