Welsh sci­en­tists help to dis­cover new species of orang­utan

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

A NEW species of orang­utan has been dis­cov­ered by an in­ter­na­tional team, in­clud­ing re­searchers from Cardiff Univer­sity.

The orang­utan, now the most en­dan­gered great ape on earth, was dis­cov­ered in North Su­ma­tra, In­done­sia.

Pongo tapan­ulien­sis, other­wise known as the Ta­pan­uli Orang­utan, was found in the three Ta­pan­uli dis­tricts of North Su­ma­tra af­ter close anal­y­sis of the ape in­hab­i­tants of the Batang Toru Ecosys­tem.

Dr Benoit Goossens from Cardiff Univer­sity’s School of Bio­sciences said: “The Batang Toru pop­u­la­tions of orang­utans in Su­ma­tra were only re­dis­cov­ered fairly re­cently in 1997. How­ever, it wasn’t un­til 2013 that the re­searchers re­ceived the skele­ton of an adult male orang­utan that was killed dur­ing con­flict, and we re­alised that there were sig­nif­i­cant physi- cal and ge­netic dif­fer­ences in these apes. By com­par­ing the skull to other orang­utans, it was clear that this skull showed dra­matic dif­fer­ences. This sug­gested that the Batang Toru pop­u­la­tion was po­ten­tially unique.”

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