Orangutans Are Like Birds

Orangutans are like birds. Not in the literal sense. They don’t lay eggs, have beaks, or feathers. However they do make nests, and not once a season to make babies. They make a different nest every night. Now that sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? I am too lazy to make my bed everyday let alone make a new bed every day. Well scientists at the University of Manchester have been monitoring orangutans in the wild for the last year and discovered orangutans put a lot of thought and effort into their nightly beds.

“We found that the orangutans chose strong, rigid tree branches for the structural parts of the nests that supported their weight, and weaker, more flexible branches for the nest’s linings, suggesting that the apes’ choice of branch for different parts of the nests was dictated by the branches’ diameter and rigidity,” said Dr Ennos, based in the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences. He also said, “[The] branches chosen for the nests’ structural framework were fractured differently from those chosen for the lining: whereas structural branches were broken halfway across, leaving them attached, branches used for lining were completely severed, suggesting that orangutans might use knowledge of the different ways in which branches break to build strong and comfortable nests.”

So not only do the orangutans make new beds every night, they also selectively choose each branch and calculate the best position for it. Furthermore, the smaller branches are woven to make soft places to lie down. These great apes are smarter than were ever thought before, and why they always amaze me.

Orangutans carefully select branches to use in their nests, just like birds do. Who knows? Orangutans may start laying eggs and sprouting wings, but that may be further down the evolutionary line.Image

Credit to Rhett A. Butler and mongobay.com


Manchester University (2012, April 17). Orangutans smarter than previously thought: Orangutan nest building highly sophisticated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/04/120417080346.htm


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