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(ōrăng`o͝otăn), an apeape,
any primate of the superfamily Hominoidea, which includes humans; this article, however, focuses on the nonhuman apes. The small apes, the gibbons and the siamang, and the orangutans, which belong to the great apes, are found in SE Asia.
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 of the genus Pongo, found in rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. Highly specialized for arboreal life, orangutans usually travel by grasping branches with hands and feet and moving from tree to tree. Adult males are about 4 1-2 ft (1.4 m) tall and weigh up to 180 lbs (82 kg). Their arms are very long, the total span sometimes exceeding 7 ft (2.1 m). Their legs are short and bowed, making ground travel awkward; they walk with a side-to-side shuffle on all fours. The body is rotund and covered with long hair in various shades of red. The face of a young orangutan looks quite human; the name means "forest person" in Malay. Old males usually develop large cheek pads and facial hair that resembles a man's moustache and beard. Enormous throat pouches also develop with sexual maturation, which starts at about age 14.

Adult orangutans are basically solitary, except for mother-offspring pairs; however, weaned juveniles sometimes congregate in small groups. Males are aggressive toward each other and fight over females. Individual nests are usually constructed in trees each night. Fruit is a diet mainstay, and orangutans are important seed distributors.

The numbers of orangutans have recently dropped precipitously owing to loss of habitat to deforestation (logging, forest fires, and clearing of land for plantations) and the killing of females for their young, to be sold as pets or zoo animals. The three species are listed as endangered or, in the case of the two species found on Sumatra, critically endangered. Orangutans are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Hominidae.


See B. Galdikas, Orangutan Adaptation at Tanjung Puting Reserve, Central Borneo (1978); J. H. Schwartz, The Red Ape (1987).



(Pongo pygmaeus), a large anthropoid ape, the only representative of the genus Pongo. There are two subspecies: P. p. pygmaeus, from the island of Kalimantan, and P. p. abelii, from Sumatra.

Adult males measuring 130–150 cm tall weigh 100–150 kg. The females are much smaller than the males. The coat is coarse and very long and ranges in color from reddish to reddish brown. The face is naked and broad, and the ears are small. The males have large ridgelike cheek pads. The skull is long, and in females, has ridging. Cranial capacity is between 400 and 500 cc. There are no buttock pads or tail. The arms are very long, reaching as much as 3 m when extended. The hands are broad and long, but the thumbs are rudimentary. The legs are relatively short, and the feet are narrow and long-toed. The first toe is short and often lacks the nail. Both hand and feet are prehensile.

Orangutans live in marshy forests. They move through the trees by grasping branches with their hands and feet. On the ground they walk on all four limbs. Orangutans are found in small groups. They build shelters in which they sleep during the night. The animals feed on bird eggs and on the fruits of durian and other trees.

Orangutans reach sexual maturity between the ages of ten to 12 years. The gestation period is 275 days. The youngster, which weighs about 1.5 kg at birth, is nursed for three or four years. In the wild, orangutans may live 30 years. A rare and endangered species, the orangutan is protected by law.


Weber, M. Primaty. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)
Napier, J. K., and P. H. Napier. A Handbook of Living Primates. London-New York, 1967.



(vertebrate zoology)
Pongo pygmaeus. The largest of the great apes, a long-armed primate distinguished by long sparse reddish-brown hair, naked face and hands and feet, and a large laryngeal cavity which appears as a pouch below the chin.
References in periodicals archive ?
By working with the SOCP, the Orang Utan Coffee Project is safeguarding the livelihoods of local farmers and bringing the Sumatran orangutan back from the brink.
Coffee Lovers in the UK benefit too, as these tropical rainforests also provide the special climate needed to grow the unique 100 percent Arabica coffee beans in Orang Utan Coffee.
Phil Smith, head of category and insight, UCC Coffee UK and Ireland, which produces Orang Utan Coffee, said, "Not only is there an inspirational story behind the Orang Utan brand, the coffee itself rates very highly in flavour and quality.
Excursions included in the Rasa Ria resort price of pounds 749 for 12 nights with half board are a half-day trip to the orang utan reserve, a river cruise and half-day visit to a native village.
Sydney Young says Borneo is the destination that dreams are made ofTHE road to paradise for orphaned orang utans Otto and Rufila starts in Shangri-la - and ends in freedom in the Borneo wonderland of Sepilok.
The freed orang utans are encouraged to come to a feeding platform each day so that visitors can see them at play.
She added: "Young orang utans may lose their mothers to vigilante crop farmers or often they will fall victim to the illegal, black-market pet trade.
Julie Woolley (left) and Rachel Sellers with Aidy Jamali and Elis Tambolin; below, one of the Twycross orang utans.
He added: "Sprout is the first orang utan to be born here in 19 years and female red panda, Amba, is the first to be born at DZG in our 74 year history, so you can imagine how delighted staff have been at the births.
Primates keeper Nigel Summerfield, said: 'The orang utans have developed a real taste for sprouts - they can't get enough of them.
He added: 'The orang utans have a daily diet of mixed fruit and vegetables but they certainly like their sprouts.
One of the world's most endangered species, Dudley's three Bornean orang utans are part of an international breeding programme.