Lemurs, Galagos, Lorises, and Tarsiers in GURPS

Lemurs, galagos, lorises, and tarsiers are collectively called prosimians - something of a grab-bag term for any primate that is not a monkey or ape. They evolved from primates more primitive than the common ancestor to new and old world monkeys, and thus preserve many of the primitive features of the early primates - while evolving many of their own advanced features not seen in monkeys, apes, or humans. Lemurs are primates native to Madagascar, galagos are from Africa, lorises from Africa and Asia, and tarsiers from Asia. Lemurs, galagos, and lorises are all relatively closely related, while tarsiers are more closely related to monkeys than to lemurs.

Except for a few extinct lemurs, prosimians are largely arboreal. They run along branches, clamber up trunks, and leap between branches and trees. Some can also scamper along the ground with agility, while others are so highly adapted for life in the trees that movement on the ground is awkward for them. In game terms they have the advantage "Brachiator" (a misnomer because they do not actually brachiate) so that they need not make rolls for jumping between branches and vines and do so with speed and agility, Clinging(requires hand-holds) so that they need not make climbing rolls for moving along rough, grippable surfaces and can so so with speed and agility, Terrain Adaptation (uneven) for jumping and clambering over jumbled surfaces without penalty, and Perfect Balance for running along branches without making rolls to see if they fall off.

Prosimian hands are rather clumsy compared to old world monkeys and apes, since they lack a precision grip with an opposable thumb. They have a number of unique adaptations of their own, however, including a specialized claw on the foot for grooming and scratching and (for lemurs, galagos, and lorises,but not tarsiers) lower incisors that form a comb for grooming .

Prosimians have excellent eyesight, but it is not as highly developed for noticing details as the eyes of monkeys and apes (and humans). On the otherhand, prosimians have better developed night vision, including a tapetum lucidum - a reflective layer behind the retina that doubles light collection, but makes their eyes glow in the dark if a light is shown on them. The prosimian sense of smell is much better developed than that of monkeys, apes, and humans. Prosimians commonly use scent to communicate between themselves, often by rubbing scent glands on surfaces for others to smell. Prosimians still have significant tactile senses around the lips and nose, including vibrissae (whiskers), while also having highly tactile hands. A consequence of this is that they are as likely to use their nose as their hands for investigating and manipulating objects.

Prosimians which are diurnal or cathameral (active either in day or at night) tend to live in groups, nocturnal prosimians usually forage alone but may gather together to sleep. The social structure of these groups is not as well developed as among old world monkeys or apes. Among the lemurs, in most cases the females are dominant over males and have enhanced feeding priviliges.

When prosimians fight, they fight with their fang-like teeth. Usually they have methods to avoid conflict in the first place, such as vocalizations or scent markings. This may work with other prosimians of the same species, but does not help when they are pounced on by a predatory fossa or attacked by a hungry human. Against predatory threats, prosimians either hide or run away and only fight if cornered or grabbed.

Game Statistics

choose a species:
Species Male Female (optional)
enter weight (kg)
Captive? T?HR?

Greater Galago


Slender Loris

Slow Loris


Golden Potto

Ring Tailed Lemur

Brown Lemur

Ruffed Lemur

Bamboo Lemur


Wooly Lemur


Sportive Lemur


Dwarf Lemur

Mouse Lemur

Archaeolemuridae (all extinct)
Baboon Lemur

Monkey Lemur

Palaeopropithecidae (all extinct)




Megaladapidae (all extinct)
Koala Lemur

The radio button entries in the table above give typical sizes of the monkey species of the selected sex. If you want a larger or smaller specimen, enter the weight in kg manually.

The Captive checkbox is for animals that have been kept in captivity all their lives, without the ability to hone their reflexes, muscles, and skills like thier wild relatives. It would be appropriate for pets and zoo animals.

Marking the T? checkbox will give you the stats in template form with all costs listed, otherwise you get a stat sheet as for a character.

Marking the HR? checkbox will print the information using all my house rules. Otherwise, the stats will be as compatable with plain vanilla GURPS as possible (although several custom advantages and disadvantages will be present, see my Traits page).

Back to Animalia