The Tapanuli Orangutan: What does it take to discover a new great ape species?
Posted in 25/02/2019
Bornean (left), Sumatran (middle) and Tapanuli (right) male orangutans. Image by Eric Kilby, Aiwok and Tim Laman via Wikimedia Commons (GFDL).
By Laurel Neme (Mongabay)
When an international team of scientists published their description of a new ape species, the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis), in the journal Current Biology in November 2017, it marked the culmination of years of painstaking research.
It also highlighted the urgent need to protect this rare ape and save its rapidly shrinking upland forest habitat.
The new orangutan species, named for the Tapanuli region in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, has a population of roughly 800 individuals and is found only in a 1,100-square-kilometer (425-square-mile) patch of the Batang Toru forest ecosystem, an area currently being cleared for a hydroelectric dam and associated infrastructure.
Geneticists, morphologists and behavioral scientists talked to Mongabay about how their research led to the discovery of this new species of great ape.
Read the full article at Mongabay site