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Comparing colugo DNA with 21 other mammal genomes, the team found that colugos are most closely related to primates, while tree shrews took different evolutionary paths to arrive at similar traits.
The study focused on the Malayan colugo, an animal the size of a cat commonly called a flying lemur - even though it is not a true lemur, nor does it technically fly.
On the basis of recent research, scientists suspected that a common ancestor that lived long ago eventually developed into colugos, primates, and a type of animal called the tree shrew.