Top Story: February 17, 2014

Terrestrial Orangutans?

monkeys, primates, ground, arboreal, trees, Borneo

By Molly Michelson

Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) are the largest arboreal, or tree-habitating, animals, some of the most intelligent primates—and close relatives of humans. They’re also endangered. Their homes in the trees of Borneo are consistently threatened with deforestation.

In addition, their behavior in the wild is poorly understood. Although the orangutans appear to spend most of their time in trees, a group of international researchers wondered how often the apes use the ground for travel—a method they may have to adopt more and more as trees are lost.

Led by Marc Ancrenaz, the researchers set up camera traps across 16 different sites in Borneo to study how terrestrial the orangutans are, and whether anthropogenic disturbances (such as deforestation) influence this behavior.

In the study, published last week in Scientific Reports, the scientists described the detriments and benefits of ground living for the primates:

We can suppose that increased terrestriality would increase predation risk, interactions with and persecution by humans, and exposure to novel pathogens. On the other hand, terrestrial behavior could also facilitate movement and, therefore, dispersal, especially in degraded or fragmented landscapes as a result of natural or man-made processes. It could also create new opportunities to access different food sources.

Remarkably, the camera traps frequently recorded orangutans on the ground, regardless of age or gender of the animal. Additionally, the primates visited the ground in primary forests as well as in heavily degraded habitats, suggesting that anthropogenic canopy disruptions may influence terrestrial activity, but are not the sole driver of this behavior. The findings suggest that terrestrial locomotion may have a larger than expected role in the Bornean orangutan’s natural behavioral repertoire.

In fact, the researchers note that this ground activity is supported evolutionarily. The fossil record displays evidence that potential orangutan ancestors were more terrestrial than the present-day primates. “…Ancestral orangutans may have been able to cover larger distances on the ground,” according to the study.

These findings suggest that as Bornean forests degrade further, terrestriality will allow orangutans to be more resilient to drastic habitat change than previously thought, and thus help to save these animals from extinction.

Image: Andrew Hearn and Joanna Ross


  • SubudObama

    http://orangutanssite.wordpress.c o m/

    http://orangutans.beep.c o m/

    Subud proudly writes in its papers, that they employ children too at the pour territories. In point of fact

    there is nothing but conscious and unscrupulous utilization of local and cheap children labor. Mass of children

    work for businesses founded by Subud, they work in plantations and mines. Their daily attendance is a part of

    the local economy practice of Subud and with them, Subud can realize maximum benefit. They can raise these

    little children according to the sect’s religious routine, that makes the children loyal soldiers of the Subud,

    and they can be used for any unclear purposes. This is one of the pourest region of the world and the only one

    living opportunities here are the workplaces set up by Subud. Subud has organized and own every part of the

    industry’s production, therefor they can control the whole process. Mining, white coal, plantations of gum and

    oil palm trees warrant the welfare of the economy empire outsourcing to their foundations. These system can

    financial a global organization and infrastructure network during nations.

  • SubudOrangutan

    http://orangutanssite.wordpress.c o m/

    http://orangutans.beep.c o m/

    The Subud is a word wide organization with a vague background. During the previous decades it become a serious

    network, which has an effective on every aspect of life, including banks, organizations for youth and culture,

    enterprises, foundations and a huge empire of property wealth.

    The official founder was R.M. Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjujo (1901-1987), known after the World War II. as Pak

    Subuh from Indonesia. At the beginning the sect existed only in Java, but in the 50’s – 60’s it extended word

    wide, taking out influential people to be their supporter directly or by implication. However the real

    intellectual leading and ideology bases came from a totally different direction. Doctrines, worded by the

    well-known Russian dancer Gurdjieff, has been translated to the sect in the 40’s – 50’s by John G. Bennett, who

    was the disciple of Gurdjieff with a very interesting intelligence past and can be correlate with more

    organizations. Since the tsarist period ends Gurdjieff itself has been getting in a vague touch with Russians.

  • orangutansubud

    http://orangutanssite.wordpress.c o m/

    http://orangutans.beep.c o m/

    Subud creates in the field of the cutting forests not only plantations but cities as well, like Palangka Raya Kőzép in the island of Borneo.

    Statehood is represented by the Subud, actually they totally govern whole Indonesia. They do own the chains of hotels too. PRACTICALLY

    everything is owned by the Subud.

Previous Top Stories


About Science Today

Science Today is the California Academy of Sciences’ channel for current stories on cutting-edge technologies, life, Earth, space and sustainability. Content is produced in-house and is distributed throughout the museum, on the internet and through various partners. Please share your comments on what you find important in the changing world of science.