A group of researchers under the leadership of Michaela Krutzen of the Swiss University of Zurich have come to the conclusion that, in addition to bornasco and amaterskog, there is a third species of orangutans — they live in the woods in the North of the island of Sumatra and was named Tapanuli orangutan. Experts say that no currently known as great apes today are not under such serious threat of extinction as discovered orangutans.
Orangutans in nature live in the rain forests of the Indonesian Islands of Kalimantan (known as Borneo) and Sumatra. Almost the whole life they spend in the trees. These monkeys are considered to be sufficiently close relatives of people — their common ancestors lived on the Land for only 15 million years ago, that is pretty recent by the standards of evolution. For a long time it was believed that in the world there is only one species of orangutans, but in 1996 it became clear that bernaski and amaterski orangutans differ too much to consider them merely different subspecies.
A new study has shown that there is a third species of these monkeys, differing from the two known slightly smaller head size and more “crispy” orange wool. Also, according to scientists, Tapanuli orangutan was characterized by “a solid mustache.” Interestingly, being “neighbors” samarskij orangutans, orangutan Tapanuli as their appearance and behavior to a much greater extent resemble orangutans bernaski.
According to scientists, the island has only about 800 representatives of recently discovered species, that is, they are under very real threat of extinction. Experts suggest that to prevent this, environmentalists and politicians need to protect the forest where these orangutans. Today it is actively cut down by poachers, and attempts to curb the practice until successful.
The study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology.
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