Definition of galago
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There are six species of galagos, small nocturnal tree-dwelling primates found in forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Galagos are gray, brown, or reddish or yellowish brown animals with large eyes and ears, soft woolly fur, and a long tail. They are active at night, feeding on fruits, insects, and small birds. Galagos have elongated hind limbs that enable them to leap with great agility. Smaller forms, such as the bush baby, are particularly active and agile. Galagos range from 4½–6 in (11–16 cm) long, excluding the 7–8-in (18–20-cm) tail, to 12–15 in (30–37 cm), excluding the 16½–18½-in (42–47-cm) tail.
Origin and Etymology of galago
borrowed from New Latin & French, perhaps borrowed from Wolof golo “the monkey Erythrocebus patas” + -g, class marker + -u, relative and genitive marker ◆This etymology is entirely hypothetical, in that the word's source language is unknown, and Wolof uses a different word for Galago senegalensis. The word galago is first recorded in a description of the animal by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (“Mémoire sur les rapports naturels des Makis Lemur, L. et Description d'une espèce nouvelle de Mammifère,” Magasin encyclopédique, ou Journal des sciences, des lettres et des arts, tome premier , pp. 20-50). Geoffroy had obtained a skull and apparently a picture (tableau) of the animal from the naturalist Michel Adanson, who had spent the years 1748-55 in Senegal. According to Geoffroy, Adanson reported that “the animal whose head he had brought back was known there under the name galago” (“ … qu'on y connoissoit l'animal dont il avoit rapporté le tête sous le nom de galago”). In a preceding sentence Geoffroy refers to specimens that Adanson had found in Galam, and it is unclear if the “there” in the later sentence refers to Galam (at the time a Soninke kingdom in northeastern Senegal) or to Senegal in general.
First Known Use: 1817See Words from the same year
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