New orangutan species found in Indonesia

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The name is “Tapanuli”, and “were first observed 20 years ago during an expedition to the mountains of the island of Sumatra, but only now have proved the differences”.

This new species of orangutan has been identified in Indonesia as a hope for the conservation of these animals, the scientific community announced this week last Thursday.

“Tapanuli” (scientific name Pongo tapanuliensis) were first observed 20 years ago during an expedition to the remote parts of the Sumatra mountains, but only now have investigators been able to establish differences for the Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) and of Borneo (Pongo pygmaeus).

The work of local and international researchers, from the universities of Zurich, Switzerland and Liverpool (John Moores), England, was published in the scientific journal Current Biology, which also reports the existence of a population of 800 individuals, more ancient of the orangutans in life that is known.

“There were only seven large species of primates, not counting humans. So, adding another to a very small list is spectacular, it’s something biologists dream about”, professor Michael Krutzen of Zurich told the BBC.

The major threats to wild orangutan populations include hunting, habitat destruction and illegal trade in pets for pet use. And according to scientists, there are just over 100,000 orangutans worldwide, and the rapid growth of the rate of devastation allows predicting that species extinction will occur in a few decades.

After this population was discovered, the researchers were now able to collect some DNA samples, which allowed them to reconstruct their origin through their genetic codes. A skull was also collected from an animal that had been killed by people in the year 2013 and allowed differences to be established for the Sumatran orangutans and those from Borneo.

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