Highly specialized for arboreal life, orangutans usually travel by grasping branches with hands and feet and moving from tree to tree. Their arms are very long, the total span sometimes exceeding 7 ft 2. Their legs are short and bowed, making ground travel awkward; they walk with a side-to-side shuffle on all fours.
This article is over 1 year old Play Video 1: Among the great apes — a group that also includes humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos — orangutans are our most distant relative.
Sincetwo distinct species have been recognised: Now, it seems, there is a third. Wich also noted that it was a shock to find such a distinct population given Sumatran orangutans are found just km away.
The new species has been dubbed the Tapanuli orangutan, or Pongo tapanuliensis, after the area spanned by the Batang Toru ecosystem south of Lake Toba in northern Sumatra, where the creatures live. Writing in the journal Current Biologyan international team of researchers describe multiple characteristics they say indicate the Tapanuli orangutans are a distinct species.
Among the evidence, the team report how they seized the opportunity to examine the remains of an adult male Tapanuli orangutan after it was killed by villagers in November The team compared the skull and jaws to those of 33 other adult male orangutans, held in the collections of 10 institutions around the world, revealing differences in numerous metrics — including that the skull of the Tapanuli male is smaller than that of individuals of the other two species.
The authors also looked at the characteristics of living individuals, noting that the long booming calls of the Tapanuli males differ from those of the two other known species and that the creatures have more cinnamon-coloured pelts than Bornean orangutans, with a frizzier texture — particularly when compared to the loose locks of Sumatran orangutans.
The team also made note of the facial hair of the Tapanuli orangutans, pointing out that dominant males have prominent moustaches, and the females sport beards.This work was supported by Zoo Atlanta and by National Science Foundation awards BCS and IOS to Robert R.
Hampton, and by The Office of Research Infrastructure Programs/OD P51OD We thank Kimberly Burke and Meghan Sosnowski for help testing subjects, the Zoo Atlanta primate.
All three species of orangutan look broadly similar, and it was only fairly recently ( in fact) that the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans were split into separate species. In , a third orangutan species, the Tapanuli orangutan, was recognised. Old World monkeys and New World monkeys live in tropical forest environments of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Primates are social animals who live in bands and small groups. Some of the largest primates include gorillas, orangutans, baboons, and chimpanzees. Apart from humans, the orangutan is the only one of the five great apes - the orangutan, the gorilla, the common chimpanzee, the bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee) and human - to live outside Africa and is the largest tree living mammal in the world.
Nater et al. describe a new great ape species, the Tapanuli orangutan Pongo tapanuliensis. An isolated population from Batang Toru is highly distinct from the northern Sumatran and Bornean species, based on morphological variation, corroborated by population genomic analyses.
Fewer than individuals of P. tapanuliensis survive in the wild. For Old World monkeys and apes, species that live in larger social groups have complex, colorful facial patterns, whereas those that live in smaller groups have simpler, plainer faces, the study.