Jump to content

New large primate found


Recommended Posts

BFF Patron

Saw on the Network news yesterday that the first large new primate was discovered on over 80 years.     Some different species of Orangutan previously unknown.    Did not hear where it was found.    There is always hope that BF will be "discovered" by science.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe you are referring to the Tapanuli orangutans, which are a group of orangutans which live in a geographically isolated part of northwest Sumatra in Indonesia. These orangutans live in an area of only about 1,000 square kilometers and have been known to differ from other orangutans in some small but important ways - their faces are slightly different, their diets are slightly different, etc. That said, these orangutans have been known to western conservationists for decades - and, obviously, to indigenous people local to their area for thousands of years.


What changed recently is that a team of evolutionary biologists and anthropologists from the University of Zurich in Switzerland published a paper supporting this group of orangutans as a separate species of orangutans. Apparently, the Tapanuli orangutans have been living in geographic isolation from the Sumatran orangutan (which lives on the same island in Indonesia) and the Bornean orangutan (which lives on the island of Borneo) for about 15,000 years. The team in question seems to be basing their claim that these orangutans constitute a separate species largely on comparisons of the DNA of the Tapanuli orangutans with the DNA of other orangutan species.


From what I can tell, there is just the one paper at this point arguing that the Tapauli orangutans constitute a separate species, and I don't think the article has been out for the scientific community to come to any consensus. In any case, this isn't really a case of any "new" orangutans being discovered, just that one group of orangutans is more genetically unique than was previously understood. 


A good article about these orangutans is available here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/11/03/new-species-of-orangutan-is-the-rarest-great-ape-on-the-planet/?utm_term=.ec683692dcc9 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...