ORANG­UTANS SIGNED UP TO ‘TIN­DER FOR APES’

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES -

What did they do?

A team at the Apen­heul Pri­mate Park in the Nether­lands showed Sam­boja, an 11-year-old fe­male orangutan, pic­tures of po­ten­tial mates on a steel-re­in­forced touch­screen com­puter. The im­ages had been gath­ered from an in­ter­na­tional ape-breed­ing pro­gramme.

Why did they do that?

Since the male part­ner could come from any num­ber of zoos from around the world, the re­searchers hoped that ‘ Tin­der for apes’ would en­able them to in­crease their chances of set­ting up a suc­cess­ful breed­ing en­counter.

What did they find?

Al­though the tech­nique showed prom­ise when tri­alled on a pair of older orang­utans, the tablet didn’t hold up to Sam­boja’s rough treat­ment – she promptly smashed the de­vice shortly af­ter be­ing given it. The team is now work­ing on putting to­gether a more ro­bust de­vice for a sec­ond at­tempt at get­ting her to swipe right.

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