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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 gibbon and the siamang, and the orangutan, one of the great apes, are found in SE Asia.
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 of the genus Pongo, found in swampy coastal 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. Fewer than 30,000 individuals are believed to remain in the wild, and the species is listed as 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 ?
Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, made with Red Ape Cinnamon from Eugene, OR, who not only make a perfectly spicy/sweet blend, but also donate part of the proceeds back to save the orangutans in Sumatra in trees where the cinnamon is harvested
The company also sells Red Ape Cinnamon and Pohnpei Pepper.
Or visit the Realm of the Red Ape, a spectacular home for the zoo's orang-utans.
So much to see and do Meet the delightful orang-utans and gibbons in the Realm of the Red Ape and all five metres of the Reticulated Python
Visit the spectacular new attraction, Realm of the Red Ape, where you can see the Bornean and Sumatran orang-utans along with a wide variety of Indonesian forest species including gibbons, reptiles and birds.
As zookeepers this week readied a banquet of squash, lettuce, onions and carrots for the Red Ape Rain Forest, they saw hope for the addled orangutan with the slight asthmatic wheeze who might one day be ready to meet the public.
The Lazy Summer Evenings will see guests taking a gentle stroll around the zoo grounds, visiting animal houses such as Elephants of the Asian Forest, Spirit of the Jaguar, Realm of the Red Ape and the Tropical Realm.
The Red Ape Rain Forest allows visitors to watch orangutans from only a few feet away.
5 million Red Ape Rain Forest opened today at the Los Angeles Zoo to house its four orangutan residents.
It is believed that Emma became pregnant shortly after moving into the zoo's new Realm of the Red Ape enclosure last year.
The Realm of the Red Ape exhibit, next to the existing orang-utan island, will be the most expensive in the zoo's history, with costs running to pounds 3m.