Lemuria was an ancient continent in south-east Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean that gradually subsided well over a million years ago, according to both 19th century geology and the doctrines of the Theosophical Society. It was named after the lemur, a species of primate that exists in these regions, but also shares its name with the Lemuria, the Roman festival of the unquiet dead on 9, 11, and 13 May. Its name also appears to contain the element Mu, the name given to a lost continent in some versions of Mayan mythology. In Sri Lankan mythology Lemuria is called Kumari Kandam.
Lemuria was said to have been the place where early and primitive species of human beings first evolved, which like lemurs still had tales. Unlike lemurs they were also said to have been hermaphroditic egg-layers - so, at least, according to the Theosophical version of evolution. Human souls had allegedly evolved separately in an even earlier continent called Hyperborea, situated in the far north. Lemuria gradually subsided into the sea in a series of cataclysms over millions of years, eventually giving way to Atlantis.