Madagascar has been an isolated island for about 70 million years, breaking away from Africa around 165 million years ago, then from India nearly 100 million years later. Because of this isolation, fauna on the island took a different course than the mainland. Of roughly 200,000 known species found on Madagascar, about 150,000 exist nowhere else. Some species found in Madagascar have their closest relatives not in Africa but in the South Pacific and South America.
It has been separated from other land masses for millions of years and was only discovered by humans about 2,000 years ago. As a result of being so isolated, most of the animals of Madagascar are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else in the world. The absence of humans allowed species on Madagascar to flourish. Around 70% of its mammals, around 90% of its reptiles and 99% of the amphibians are endemic!
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