Orangutans (genus Pongo) are great apes native to Indonesia and Malaysia.They are found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, but during the Pleistocene they ranged throughout Southeast Asia and South China.Classified in the genus Pongo, orangutans were originally considered to be one species.From 1996, they were divided into two species: the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus, with … Subadult males associate primarily with females. Another arboreal adaptation is flexible hip joints that allow orangutans similar movement in their legs and arms. Orangutans live in the forest of Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo). Like other high primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, you), orangutans use tools. Orangutans use their lips to detect food textures before biting into them and to exaggerate facial expressions used in communication. Thi… Orangutans are among our closest genetic relatives – sharing almost 97% of their DNA with human beings. There is strong evidence that the HIV virus that causes AIDS originated with gorillas. In addition to eating, orangutans will carry large objects in their mouths while keeping their hands and feet free for traveling. Orangutans are the only great apes of Asia, but not the only apes. A male orangutan looks down from the branches of a tree. The hooklike hands have long fingers and palms with short thumbs. Refer to TaxonomyâSpecies for species specific coloration. Orangutans are predominantly ripe-fruit eaters, although they consume more than 400 different types of food, including invertebrates and, on rare and opportunistic occasions, meat. The hips of orangutans are highly mobile. Orangutans are covered in long, flowing red or orange fur, except for their distinct bare faces. Adult males are larger and exhibit striking secondary sexual characteristics, particularly the flat and prominent cheek pads that develop along the sides of the face. Usually they are very peaceful animals. In addition to their massive size, cheek pads enhance adult male orangutans' visual impact, making their threats more convincing. The great apes include gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. Although smaller than adult males, subadults are still as large as or larger than adult females. So are we! Orangutans have five fingers just like humans, so they can grip branches very well. Since orangutans primarily move through the forest using their arms and shoulders as opposed to their legs and hips, their arms are longer than their legs and their shoulders are wider than their hips. Orangutans are also known as 'gardeners of the rainforest' since they help with seed dispersal through consuming a wide variety of fruits and moving between trees. The people of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment are truly and deeply driven to inspire on behalf of, to celebrate and connect with, and to care for the natural world we all share. They have full rotation of their joints, allowing their legs to move at almost any angle. Chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas survived in Africa, but only the orangutans survived in Asia. Adult males are the most solitary, avoiding each other and associating only with consorting females or former consorts. The pads enhance the size of the head and are linked with increased levels of testosterone. Slow growth and development are consistent with the orangutanâs long life spanâ60 years has been documented in captivity. 4) Orangutans spend most of their time up in the trees, where they use their long, strong arms and hook-shaped hands to climb and swing from branch to branch. Of these, orangutans are the most arboreal (living in trees). Otherwise, orangutans are generally silent. Our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and to impart action on our park guests to preserve wild animals and wild places. Humans have this extensive range of rotation only in the shoulder joints, allowing the arms to move freely. They are not knuckle walkers like the African apes but instead walk on closed fists or extended palms. Humans And Orangutans. Mothers and their young ones however, share a very strong bond, and young orangutans could stay with their mothers for up to seven years before separating. Because orangutans spend most of their time in trees, their long arms, fingers and toes are quite useful as they swing from branch to branch. Orangutan feet are adapted for climbing trees. Most mating takes place in the context of consortships that last 3 to 10 days and are correlated with ovulation. During the day most of their time is divided equally between resting and feeding. They are mainly arboreal species using their super long arms to move between branches. Orangutan, (Malaysian: âperson of the forestâ) (genus Pongo), also spelled orang-utan, any of three species of Asian great apes found in rainforests on the Southeast Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Orangutans have powerful jaws capable of cracking, crushing, and chewing fibrous foods such as fruit with spiny coverings, nuts, and tree bark. The Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus, is further subdivided into three subspecies: P. pygmaeus morio in East Kalimantan and Sabah, P. pygmeus pygmaeus in Sarawak and the northwest part of W… The thumb and big toe of orangutans oppose the other digits (fingers/ toes), enabling them to grasp and manipulate objects. Orangutans have long, strong arms which reach nearly to the ground when the orangutan is standing. Subadult males lack the wide cheek pads and large throat pouch, and they generally do not long call. Orangutans have an enormous arm span. Some male vocalizations have been documented to carry up to 80 m (a half mile) in distance. and can stand between 1.25 to 1.5 m (4.1-5 ft.) in height. Cheek pads are thought to help extend the range of their vocalizations by channeling the sounds directly similar to a megaphone. Though it had features similar to a monkey, its grasp, lack of a tail, facial expressions and strong grabbing abilities places it as an ape. Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. Are you wild about whales? There are two phases of sexual maturation among malesâadult and subadult. The feet resemble the hands in having opposable big toes that are similar to the thumbs. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The legs of orangutans are smaller than their arms because they are not primarily used in swinging and do not support their body weight. Taxonomy. Orangutan coloration can vary greatly between dark-brown and pale reddish-orange but is most often reddish-orange in color. Consider that a large human can bench-press 250 pounds. Chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas are all great apes and are primates. Author of. Orangutan arms are one and a half times longer than their legs. Males typically vocalize for a minute or more; calls up to five minutes in length have been recorded, giving the call its name. On the ground orangutans are slow; a person can easily keep pace with them. To carry their heavy, 150-pound to 300-pound bodies from branch to branch, they have strong, very long arms. Orangutans share at least 28 physical traits with humans; that’s 26 more than chimps and 21 more than gorillas. Strong partnerships will help us save Borneo’s orangutans The Bornean orangutan is critically endangered, and thousands of orangutans die as a result of human-orangutan conflicts every year. Read more about the great apes. It is rare for an adult orangutan to ever touch the ground. The typically dark tan or brownish skin is covered with relatively coarse and usually sparse red hair. Their strong hands, handlike feet, and long arms (with a span of up to 8 feet) are supremely adapted to life in the trees. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Their feet grasp branches and serve as an extra support, in addition to their hands, when hanging upside-down. Subadults may remain in this state for 10 to 20 years. Although incredibly strong and able to beat a human in a fight, gorillas are not generally aggressive to human beings. But it sounds extreme to suggest that humans are only an eighth as strong as chimpanzees. Their great intelligence is clear from their behaviour – their distinctive personalities, sense of humour and powerful familial bonds. Orangutans live in a semisolitary social organization that is unique among monkeys and apes. They are up to 6 times stronger than humans and have 2 strong hands and 2 strong feed, and they can bite hard. A male may stretch his arms some 7 feet from fingertip to fingertip—a reach considerably longer than his standing height of about 5 feet. Orangutans are the largest arboreal animals, spending more than 90 percent of their waking hours in the trees. Of the four kinds of nonhuman great apes – gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans – only the orangutan comes from Asia; the rest come from Africa. Females virtually never give the full sequence of the long call, as it serves to space males and attract sexually receptive females. When stretched out to the sides, an adult male orangutan’s arms may measure 213 cm (7 ft.) in length. The pads of their fingers and hands are very sensitive. An orangutan’s arm-span is longer that its height. A male’s arm-span can reach 7 feet (2 meters) from fingertip to fingertip, according to National Geographic. Orangutans share approximately 97% of their DNA with humans. Orangutan fingers and toes are long and curved to help hold and quickly release branches as they traverse the treetops. Orangutans eat ripe fruit, along with young leaves, bark, flowers, honey, insects, vines, and the inner shoots of plants. A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. Adult males also have a throat pouch that serves as a resonating chamber for the âlong call,â a sequence of roars that can sometimes be heard for 2 km (1.2 miles). Come with us on an unforgettable journey behind the scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp. Orangutans are the only ape species that live in trees full-time. This arrested development has been linked with stress associated with the presence of adult males. The adult male is typically twice the size of the female and may attain a height of 1.3 metres (4.3 feet) and a weight of 130 kg (285 pounds) in the wild; females weigh 37 kg (82 pounds) or less. Adult females weigh between 30 to 50 kg (66 to 110 lb.) (In Malay, orang hutan literally means ‘man of the forest’.) Sexually receptive females may attract several males, both adult and subadult. Orangutans have 32 teeth, the same number as humans. Come bed time, they sleep in leafy nests high off the ground, where it’s harder for hungry enemies (such as … But this intelligence, even in the semi-solitary orangutan, may be linked to sociality and differences in that sociality. Gestation is about eight months. Learn how Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing technology is being used by the Melbourne Zoo to enrich the lives of orangutans in captivity. The throat sacs are inflated to make their vocalizations carry further. From fun and affordable field trips for students to amazing summer adventures, our camps combine education and entertainment in a way that connects people to the sea and sea life like nowhere else. They, like people, aren’t always born with the answers—but these creatures are sensational learners. However, they look different, behave differently, come from different places for the most part and occupy different habitats. They are very observant and inquisitive, and there are many stories of orangutans escaping from zoos after having watched their keepers unlock and lock doors. Distribution. As a lot of the orangutans in our care are orphans that have been robbed of their mothers’ love, they form strong bonds with other students in forest school or with their babysitters, which is essential for their recovery. The arm span of a male is around 2 m (6.52 ft.). Males, adults in particular, behave aggressively toward other males at this time, with combat taking place in the presence of receptive females. Come face-to-face with the wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities. Although not as strong as a gorilla, an orangutan is about seven times stronger than a human. All primates have individualized fingerprints and toeprints, which may be used for identification purposes in the field. Hear animal sounds for animals like anteaters, dolphins, frogs and more. Taken with tigers? Crazy about roller coasters? The smaller of the two species, the Sumatran orangutan is very strong. This agility allows them to even place a foot in their mouth while hanging from a branch. Primates have fingernails and toenails rather than claws. Weight for weight, apes are around 10 times as strong as … Given time and the opportunity to learn from other orangutans will allow Gokong to develop his forest skills on his rehabilitation journey. Ten Million Years. Orangutans possesses cognitive abilities comparable to those of the gorilla and the chimpanzee, which are the only primates more closely related to humans. Gorillas ~ Orangutans ~ Bonobos ~ Chimpanzees Orangutans are unique in the ape world. 9. The great intelligence of orangutans is one strong reason (but not the only reason) to respect them as one of our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom and keep them alive as populations in the wild. They also have strong, short legs with flexible hips to aid in climbing. Corrections? Female orangutans have the longest breeding interval of any mammal, giving birth on average once every eight years. Orangutans are the world's largest arboreal (tree-dwelling) mammals. During the Miocene period, there were many ape species throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. Newborns weigh less than 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) and have prominent white patches around their eyes and mouths as well as scattered over their bodies. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Sexually mature male orangutans have cheek pads that are composed of subcutaneous (underneath the skin) accumulations of fibrous tissue. In the wild, this is a much rarer sight. Gorillas are mostly herbivorous animals and will not see us as a food resource.Gorillas will generally only use their strength as a form of self-defense or … Subadult males often forcibly copulate with females at times other than during ovulation. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. 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