Talk:Orangutan/Archive 1

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In line with other primate pages

I've modified the page to be in line with the other primate pages.--Mishac 06:14, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

==ns, you can start at my page

I'll try to enhance the Wikipedia entry on orangutans soon.

Wouldn't a full-body image be more apropriate for a biological profile? Having a face-only photo doesn't really give us a good idea of what its body as a whole looks like.--Wranga 12:21, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I would agree, but I've mostly given up on finding images that can be used on Wikipedia. Nearly all images are copyrighted by the photographer, and these can't be used without getting their permission. If you can find a better pic, please feel free to upload it after you've acquired permissions. - UtherSRG 18:56, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Orangutan species?

Isn't the splitting up of the Orangutan in two seperate species still controversial? What does Colin Groves' Primate Taxonomy say about the matter? Fedor 08:57, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Groves (which is the primary reference used for taxonomy in WP:PRIM articles) promotes the split into two species as shown here. - UtherSRG 12:15, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

I'm going of off what I remember from my High School Biology Class field trip from a few years ago so this is sketchy, sorry: The Melbourne Zoo has an Orangutan that is the product of parents of both species [the mother went off her birth control pill they put in the food and they didn't know until she was pregnant!] the result isn't as dramatic as what you get with a Lion & Tiger but it does have a number deficiencies and problems. LamontCranston 01:04, April 19, 2006 (UTC)

Orangutan hybrids are known, and yes, generally weaker and have a low survival rate. Did you have a point? Primate hybridization seems to be fairly common. - UtherSRG (talk) 15:22, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm new to Wikipedia so I hope you can bear with me as this is my first Talk. I edited the orangutan wiki yesterday where it starts with the phrase:

The orangutans are two species of great apes.

This is misleading and I believe incorrect. The scientific definition of a species is it can interbreed with itself and no other species. Bornean and Sumatran clearly do breed with each other. And to great affect, which has been most clearly demonstrated in zoos throughout the world where for years the orangutans subspecies have interbred very successfully (not weakly and with low survival rates as contested above, though orangutans have a generally slow reproductive rate anyway) so much so that there is now a stud register of every orangutan in every zoo so as to stop interbreeding. It is also very common in the primate world to refer to 4 great ape species; orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos. Most modern primatologist would never say that orangutans are two separate species. I can back up my argument scientifically - primate geneticists refer to Bornean and Sumatran as subspecies. Please briefly check out these external links inter alia

Molecular Genetic Divergence of Orang Utan (Pongo pygmaeus) Subspecies Based on Isozyme and Two-Dimensional Gel Electrophoresis Genetic Divergence of Orangutan Subspecies ( Pongo pygmaeus) I think the statement above about two species is factually budious and should be clarified. There should at least be a statement that the two species definition is controversial or contested. Hope this helps, --Avendagold (talk) 05:20, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

OKAY, I"M RETRACTING THIS. I have been researching this all day, and also spoken to a researcher who specialises in taxonomy. Apparently, the info I've been looking at is outdated and there is now a new body of evidence to suggest they ARE 2 distinct species, despite being able to inbreed. I defer to previous contributors. So anyway, that all means that there are 6 great ape species, and not 4 as is commonly quoted; 2 orangutan, 2 gorilla, 2 chimp (of which one is the bonobo)

--Avendagold (talk) 07:31, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

And don't forget Humans, so that makes seven. Actually ability to interbreed has never been the definition of a species. There are many possible interspecies hybrids right across the animal kingdom, and this has been known for a very long time. --Michael Johnson (talk) 09:10, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

A famous Orangutan

A orangutan from Camp Leakey named Kosachi (mispelled). Has anyone heard of this Orangutan? If anyone has information on this Orangutan someone could make a article. --Contrib 20:59, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)


The spelling (and pronunciation) orangutang isn't incorrect. The -ng version has existed in English for longer than the -n version has, and in some languages ([1] [2]) the -ng is accepted as standard.

If someone wants to stay neutral, you can add a bit explaining that it is considered incorrect by some, and say who. Otherwise I'm removing the "incorrectly" label. --Ptcamn 22:52, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Just because it has existed, doesn't make it correct in English. How other languages officially mangle words is their own business. Let's see if i can find a reference that says orangutang is incorrect... - UtherSRG (talk) 22:59, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Here's one that says the final g is incorrect, despite the common usage error that our language trips us into making: - UtherSRG (talk) 23:07, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
From your link:
Merriam-Webster has even given in and listed orangutang as an acceptable spelling. American Heritage allows orangoutang, indicating some confusion even among the experts.
Two against one. --Ptcamn 00:16, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Note the bolding I've added above. - UtherSRG (talk) 00:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. So we either put it back as it was (plainly and simply labelled as incorrect) or we leave it off. - UtherSRG (talk) 01:36, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Just saying it's an error doesn't make it one. This guy might think it is, but Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary think otherwise. --Ptcamn 00:51, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Just because it is used, doesn't make it correct. Common usage includes the -g ending, but to list it as equal to the other uses perpetuates the error. An encyclopedia should be an educational tool. Listing all usages and noting which are incorrect fulfills the educational responibility. - UtherSRG (talk) 01:51, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
What it doesn't fulfill is the responsibility to maintain a neutral point of view. Not everyone thinks it's incorrect. Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language don't think so, and they're dictionaries notable enough to have articles, unlike this AlphaDictionary. --Ptcamn 06:58, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
The article as it is isn't trying to label any forms as "correct" or "incorrect" anyway. The fact that the article is named "orangutan", with the other variations existing only as Redirects, indicates that it is the preferred name among most circles. However, you can't try to convince the Wiki that the other circles which do use "orangutang" don't exist simply because you don't want them to. If I don't want to believe that atoms exist, then shall I delete Wikipedia's article on them? Cevlakohn
The article previously did note that "orangutang" was used, but labelled it as incorrect. --Ptcamn 01:02, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Hence my use of "as it is", not "as it was"... Cevlakohn

I think there's no need to call the -ng ending "incorrect". There seems to be disagreement among the dictionaries on this subject; it seems the best solution to just list a bunch of other possible spellings at the start of the article, without "labeling" one or more. It is also more likely to fulfil NPOV. Ucucha (talk) 17:14, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

The Chambers Dictionary gives orang-utan as the headword and orang-outang as an alternative spelling. I agree that it's best just to list the alternative spellings and not worry about which ones are correct. Gdr 17:12, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Fine... how about tagging it as less common (or infrequently, or some other such tag). Google gives 3+ million hits for "orangutan", "orang-utan" and "orang utan", but less than 200k for "orangutang". - UtherSRG (talk) 19:27, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think all details should be in the intro. I believe it should be as concise as possible. You can explain such things later in the article. Ucucha (talk) 19:48, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I think "orangutang" is about as valid as "hampster", but after seeing it listed by so many reputable to almost reputable sources, I would concede to including it in the article. I'm also for tagging it as less common, less formal, often viewed as invalid, or something like that. --Aranae 20:42, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I note that Charles Darwin uses just orang in his Descent of Man, though the index has Orang-Outan. Gdr 22:03, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I would say "orangutan" is normal. Orangutang is likely a result of a) our familiaraity with the orange drink Tang, b) spelling confusion from the first g in the word, or c) adding a hard ending to a word because it sounds like it needs one due to the [eː] ( IPA) sound. I always write "orang utan" as from Malay, and pronounce the word [oɹeːN utæːn]. Darwin probably used "urang" alone because in meaning it is akin to writing "Piltdown." One doesn't have to say "Piltdown man" every time one references the "species."--Dustin Asby 01:05, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I've added a section explaining the situation of orangutang, so readers can make up their own minds as to whether it's acceptable. Hopefully UtherSRG'll let this stay.

By the way, Dustin Asby, it's only Americans (AFAIK) who say [eː] for "ang"; elsewhere it's [æ]. --Ptcamn 01:11, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Merriam Webster on-line at least does not allow for "Orangutang" [3] nor apparently does American Heritage [4]. I believe we should list it as incorrect. Marskell 09:55, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster on-line actually lists the pronunciation with -ng *first*, and that with -n last. (Just listen to the recording.) That would seem to suggest that they regard it as common in speech but not in writing.
AHD doesn't list "orangutang", but it does have "orangoutang", with an o.
But even if this was not the case, we still mustn't list *anything* as "incorrect". We'd note that it's in use, but regarded as incorrect by (xyz). --Ptcamn 10:33, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
If MW doesn't accept it in writing we shouldn't imply that it does. This is a written, not an oral, reference work. I'll drop that one for now. For some bizarre reason Oxford concise on-line doesn't list orangutan at all. Marskell 13:14, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
It is written, but that doesn't mean we can't discuss speech. --Ptcamn 15:49, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Just to make things more difficult, Stompin' Tom Connors has recorded a (fairly popular) song about kd lang, in which he describes her as having "jumped around like a 'rangytang". DS 14:09, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

The Oxford English Dictionary lists the possible spellings as orang-utan, orang-utang and orang-outang in that order of preference. It doesm't recognise the unhyphenated forms of these, as either single words or two-word compounds. I think the article should be at Orang-utan. Salopian (talk) 14:27, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Dictionaries do not define words, the record word usage. Other folks get to decide what is officially correct, while common folks go about organicly doing what they feel like. Dictionaries record those common usages, even when they are technically incorrect. Read the dialogue above. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed, 2005) is the closest we have to an list of mammal species' official common names. It uses "orangutan". Therefore, so do we. - UtherSRG (talk) 15:03, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Word usage IS what is correct. There aren't some official people in charge of words and some other people naughtily using other forms. Zoogists or others do not own the concept of orantg-utans. Further, dictionaries do not just record any old usage in a big mish-mash; they reflect and identify the full range of usage from formal to slang, and note when any variants are formally considered non-standard (by concensus). Forms not thus tagged are fully standard variants. Dictionaries also order the variants in a considered way.

I added the alternative forms from the O.E.D. to the article and cannot see any good reason why they have been removed. I did not remove the other forms even though the dictionary does not recognise them (meaning that they appear much more rarely and can be considered punctuation errors when they do). (talk) 23:54, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Malay name

Could someone find a source for the claim Orang utan is maias or mawas? As Malaysian myself (I know Malay) I haven't heard it myself although I'm not saying it's false. Neither the Malay or Indonesia articles appear to mention it from a quick read through and a search. A look in a Malay dictonary suggests mawas as an alternative name for orang hutan but a look under mawas suggests it means ape not orang hutan/orangutan. Since the orangutan was the only ape known to Malays at the time, and not knowing about the etymology of the word mawas one possibility is that it used to refer to orangutans but has been adopted to refer to apes in general. In any case, orang hutan or orangutan appears to be the prefered word for orangutan in Malay and from the Indonesian wikipedia, Indonesian. It's possible mawas or maias is still used (assuming it ever was used) by some people but the article as it stands is misleading IMHO. it would be helpful if we could sort out the etymology of the word mawas or maias but in the mean time, perhaps change it to say maias or mawas may sometimes be used instead? Nil Einne 15:13, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I've made an attempt to clarify. Better? - UtherSRG (talk) 15:20, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah although it appears to be perhaps even more complicated by the fact mawas or sometimes Orang Mawas seems to be commonly used to refer to a mythical bigfoot like creature in Peninsular Malaysia. I've had a look for sources, I thought some may discuss this given the bigfoot myth but while I found a few Malaysian ones referring to mawas the bigfoot, none discuss the name Nil Einne (talk) 21:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)


Uther, I am wondering why you reverted my edit removing the word "rape" in reference to the Orangutan, I feel that this word is an improper humanization in this situation. I understand that it is forced copulation, and they are very similar to us, but I feel the word rape implies a certain moral wrong that is innappropriate when it is part of their normal behavior.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 06:12, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

The word has been removed and re-added multiple times, for various reasons. The most compelling edit note was "orangutan rape is an important issue in anthropology. The language here neglects the issue entirely." - UtherSRG (talk) 14:04, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to concur with Moshe on this one. The word rape implies significant anthropomorphism. I'm going to switch it to Forced sexual encounters or equivalent. That's not to say it's not an important anthropological issue, just that the word rape carries pre-supposed meanings. 23:39, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
You feel that "rape" is an improper humanization (when it just means forced sex) where you have no problems with words like "language", "culture" (which are exclusively human attributes) etc in the article? Bit hypocritical (talk) 15:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I concur with 198. Legally, it is difficult enough to prove human rape. Attempting to categorize sexual activity in another species as rape is a huge leap. Is the artificial insemination of animals in devices intended to hold them immobile rape? Certainly not by any existing laws. Rape implies a legal definition which does not easily apply to animals. Language and culture have no such legal implications. The first legal definition I pulled up defines rape as: "A criminal offense defined in most states as forcible sexual relations with a person against that person's will." Just as it is legally impossible to murder an animal, since animals do not have personhood, it is legally inappropriate to refer to animal sexual behavior as rape. Not that legal definitions aren't used exclusively on wiki, but using an emotion charged word with an established definition, like rape, is more confusing than helpful. Bob98133 (talk) 16:52, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I think a much bigger issue here, is that the evidence that any orangutan has ever attempted, or succeeded in raping a human. If you read the articles that are used as sources for this claim, they're not very convincing. Either article doesn't provide a source. Until a verefiable source is found, I think the "cases of human rape" should be removed from the Orangutan page. -Jesse

Those articles are reliable sources. You can look at Google news archive search or Google book search if you want to find more references of this. There is also video of Julia Roberts in the documentary having one try to rape (have sex without consent) her, and she explaining what just happened. Dream Focus 03:38, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

"Rape" may be an appropriate term

People object to the use of the word rape in connection with orangutans because it implies a value judgment. That seems at first like a valid objection, except that orangutans themselves make that value judgment. Only immature male orangutans copoulate forcibly with females, because the females prefer fully adult males and that's the only way immature males can get laid. But when adult males see immature males forcing themselves on females, these adult males come to the aid of the females and rescue them. And after rescuing the females, these adult males don't take advantage of the females; they just walk away. That's been documented by Galdikas and also by Russon. In other words, adult male orangutans view this forcible copulation in the same way we view rape, i.e. as something to be stopped or prevented. "Anthropomorphic" is often a misleading expression when applied to orangutans, because they are like humans in so many ways. Tom129.93.17.139 21:40, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Your argument makes a lot of sense to me, but I think we should follow the lead of orangutan researchers if possible. Does the literature use "forced copulation", "rape", or is there an active debate among experts over the best language? --Allen 21:51, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
My only objection to the objection that using the word "rape" is anthropomorphizing orangutans is that every day scientists are discovering how much more animals, esp. non-human apes, are like humans. I'm not an animal lover, and it makes me a little uncomfortable, but it seems lately that every attempt to define humans as fundamentally different from animals winds up getting shot down by new, more careful observations.Bostoner (talk) 04:28, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

The whole section (Sexual interest in human females) implies that orangutans raping women are some kinda proof for direct evolutionary link. It's disgusting and outrageous. On that line of thinking we are directly related to dogs too. Take the section down you sick psychos. Alex —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Dogs don't rape, they hump, which is a domination thing, not sex. Rape never suggests a direct evolutionary link; I don't even get what you're suggesting. It does suggest that male orangutans see female humans as a viable alternative to orangutan females, so what?

My understanding is that the word "rape" is fairly ubiquitous in primatology, anthropology, etc. If it's used in the relevant scientific fields themselves, it's good enough for wikipedia. Case closed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:28, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Redirect from Ponginae

Though Pongo is the only surviving genus of Ponginae I would like to see a page on the evolution of the subfamily, when it and homininae diverged, extict species and such. If one is looking for this information then the redirect to oranutan is not helpful at all. I don't have the expertise to make a page on Ponginae but I would be very interested in reading one. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Orangs wild in Florida?

It took a moment to decipher the meaning of a passage introduced by User:James57, but if it is true that Orangs are living wild and free in Florida, then the contribution will need a citation and copy edits for clarity. Ombudsman 05:15, 17 June 2006 (UTC)


I find the usage of the word "endangered" too POV. A better phrase would be "running out" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

"Endangered" is a well defined term and is used in the scientific community. "Running out" is neither well defined, nor used in the scientific community. - UtherSRG (talk) 13:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, what's next -- changing extinct to "not there"??? Mixalot 21:25, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
No extinct should be changed to mean they are living with the dinosaurs in another universe. Enlil Ninlil 22:49, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

The World Conservation Union, the formal scientific body that creates all those familiar rankings of 'at risk' species, lists the Sumatran orangutan population as endangered (low numbers, population in verified decline, habitat loss, etc. - one of the top twenty five endangered primates on the planet. Endangered is not POV if used in this context, and is definitely appropriate. - it is a science-based ranking, there is more info at 02:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)Bangthedrum


Just curious, why is the plural form preferred in the taxobox? —Sengkang 16:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

It's about both (two, multiple, plural) species. - UtherSRG (talk) 16:48, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
If this is the case, does it mean that every article about an animal with a general name with more than one species or genera (e.g. Elephant) should appear in the plural form for the taxobox? —Sengkang 16:54, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes. "Should" being the operative word. I fix it when I notice it's incorrect. - UtherSRG (talk) 17:13, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
IMO, I think the taxobox's title should be consistent with the article name. Just wondering if this naming convention has been agreed upon by the wiki community? —Sengkang 17:24, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Forest Fires

Shouldn't there be something about this[5] in the article, since it's affecting the population.--andrew|ellipsed...Talk 05:32, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. Please add it. - UtherSRG (talk) 11:49, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I would, but honestly, I don't know where. *embarassed smiley* -andrew|ellipsed...Talk 22:07, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I suggest somewhere in that conservation section. In fact, it already gets the briefest of mentions. --Merbabu 23:31, 7 November 2006 (UTC)


I removed the following two recently added paragraphs from the article. A few reasons:

  • It's unreferenced
  • It's two long
  • It actually talks about chimpanzees

The only reason I have put it here is because I am no expert (zoologist???) on the subject and thought that perhaps some of i might be useable.

Laughter might not be confined or unique to humans, despite Aristotle's observation that "only the human animal laughs". The differences between chimpanzee and human laughter may be the result of adaptations that have evolved to enable human speech. However, some behavioural psychologists argue that self-awareness of one's situation, or the ability to identify with somebody else's predicament, are prerequisites for laughter, so animals are not really laughing in the same way that we do.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans show laughter-like vocalizations in response to physical contact, such as wrestling, play chasing, or tickling. This is documented in wild and captive chimpanzees. Chimpanzee laughter is not readily recognizable to humans as such, because it is generated by alternating inhalations and exhalations that sound more like breathing and panting. The differences between chimpanzee and human laughter may be the result of adaptations that have evolved to enable human speech. There are instances in which non-human primates have been reported to have expressed joy. One study analyzed and recorded sounds made by human babies and bonobos also known as pygmy chimpanzees were tickled. It found although the bonobo’s laugh was a higher frequency, the laugh followed the same spectrographic pattern of human babies to include as similar facial expressions. Humans and chimpanzees share similar ticklish areas of the body such as the armpits and belly. The enjoyment of tickling in chimpanzees does not diminish with age. Discovery 2003A chimpanzee laughter sample. Goodall 1968 & Parr 2005 Merbabu 01:58, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Popular culture

PLease keep WP serious. Popular culture lists are no better than the dreaded Trivia list - they have no link or relevance to the topic. It provides nothing for our understanding of orang hutan, knowing that an orang hutan appeared in TV X or Y does nothing for my knowledge of oranghutans. The argument of precedent is also invalid. Just because other pages have such sections doesn't mean they are of value. Would you suggest then that on the Australian page there is a mention of Corodile Dundee? of The American President (the movie) on the Sydney page? May I put mention of Mission Impossible 3 on the China page? Or Shanghai? I think not. What's the difference with Orang Hutan? --Merbabu 13:59, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I remind both of you of WP:3RR. --Scott Davis Talk 14:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I am well aware of it - nor do i have a history of even getting close to it. Do you have anything to add to the topic at hand? regards Merbabu 14:22, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You've reverted three times, so you are close to it.--Prosfilaes 14:25, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I followed your lead. ;-) Merbabu 14:42, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You mean, please keep WP stodgy. If it adds nothing to your knowledge, then don't bother reading it. Crocodile Dundee isn't on the Australia page, because Australia is a continent, with many many subpages, probably including ones on the pop culture of Australia. This popular culture section gives us several examples of how orangutans are viewed in film and writing.--Prosfilaes 14:25, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a pop culture mag. If you personally find encyclopedias stodgy....
Not stodgy => focussed, relevant, value added, not lazy, not toilet paper [6]. "Examples of oranghutans are viewed in film and writing". The items listed are completely irrelevant. Despite the misguided efforts of many, Wikipedia is not meant to be a repositroy of pointless facts and trivia that do not contribute to the understanding of orang hutans. The "don't read it then excuse" is not good enough. There are many things in wikipedia that don't interest me. It doesn't mean that i don't see these things as valid and relevant and quality. Can we seriously say that we have a better understanding of orang hutans because as reader's we now know that and OH is freed from a lab in 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back'? Really? that helps? If it doesn't, then is pollution of the article. Wikipedia is not [7]. As for "how oranghutans are viewed in films". That's rubbish. That's not a topic. That's just a list of Trivia appearances. And trivia sux --Merbabu 14:42, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not paper, so it's not toilet paper. The article you link to as "trivia sux" says in fact that trivia sections should be kept and eventually rewritten. Yes, I think the only place in the article where it mentions orangutans used in labs is useful. The section isn't pointless; it shows how orangutans reflect on the world of popular culture, how the stories we tell depend on these creatures.
I really fail to see how casual abbreviations and slang, even on a talk page, help Wikipedia.--Prosfilaes 14:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Please stick to commenting on the editor and not the editor. --Merbabu 15:24, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Nowhere in the above statement did I comment on the editor.--Prosfilaes 16:39, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
(after edit conflicts) I have no opinion. Crocodile Dundee is linked from Culture of Australia, Cinema of Australia and Arts in Australia. The first of these is a daughter article (main article for a section topic) of Australia. The other two are daughters of that. I'm not sure if that proves anything to either of you. --Scott Davis Talk 14:44, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Crocodile Dundee was a character the first example that came to me - but let's look at what you found. Crocodile Dunee is arguably part of Australian culture, certainly cinema, and arguably the arts depending on one's opinion, and would thus belong there - it's not the same as putting mention of a film on a fauna. I still don't see the link between a real creature and fictitious characters. It woudl make more sense to link/mention the orang hutan characters on equivalent culture pages - not a on a species page. Culture and biology don't mix. Merbabu 14:56, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
If culture and biology don't mix, why do we start the page out with a section on etymology? This is not a biology page; this is a page about orangutans, including orangutans in popular culture. It would be massive overkill to move that to a separate page.--Prosfilaes 15:01, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
It desribes the origins of the name which means 'person of the forest'. More relevant than an OH who sits on Eastwoods shoulder.--Merbabu 15:10, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
What's an OH? Orangutan has no H in it. So we drop the whole biology and culture thing, and now we're back to your decision about what's relevant and what's not.--Prosfilaes 16:39, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Great, now you are discussing my choice of abbreviations on talk pages. Will you continue to point out my speling errors? As i said, discuss edits to the article, not the editors.
As for relevance, the section is essentially still a glorified trivia section. Hidden behind a new paragraph structure and meaningless own commentary its just a list of where orang hutans have appeared in films. There is no theme, or point to it. --Merbabu 16:55, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You've introduced the same misspelling into the article. A serious encyclopedia needs to maintain some standards in both the articles and between the editors, and using ad-hoc abbreviations and repeated misspellings doesn't help communication. There is a theme: orangutans in culture. There is a point; this is where orangutans have been used in culture, this is how people see them.--Prosfilaes 08:24, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the recent re-write (to get around 3RR?) it is marginally better but still irrelevant. It is also smacks of synthesis to make a position [8] - ie, it's WP:OR. Not to mention unreferenced.--Merbabu 14:55, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

What exactly is a line like "An example of orang hutan in popular culture in one of Edgar Allen Poe's stories, which was a murderous beast." doing in a "serious" encyclopedia? "orang hutan" isn't a word, and the whole thing isn't a sentence. Likewise, "Later examples offer a more a view of a more civilized ape." doesn't parse as an English sentence.--Prosfilaes 15:15, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
If you find a grammar error, or prose problems. please fix them. The problem was - as I have explained - is that it is editorialisation and OR. Ie "Orangutans have a relatively short history in Western popular culture." Also, please fix these issues in the comments: [9] - otherwise, it is just a list.--Merbabu 15:24, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Why don't you fix the problems, instead of trashing other people's work?--Prosfilaes 15:33, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't actually understand the significance of the work - hence i asked you as you are insisting on it. Significance needs to be evident in the article. I am not sure "trashing" is the best expression - I have removed (some of the) OR and requested citations. Is that trashing? I don't believe we can excuse those because of grammar or notions of better prose. --Merbabu 16:08, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
One of your first edits to this article was to delete an entire section, and then label a bunch of other people's edits "misguided efforts" (which, by the way, is an attack on the editor.) May I note that Wikipedia:Avoid trivia sections in articles says "Whenever you see a "trivia section", take a look at each fact and consider how you might integrate it into the larger text, whether by inserting it into a section, adding a new section, or creating a more targeted list of closely-related items, such as Cameos or Continuity errors.", not "Delete trivia sections wherever they may be found."--Prosfilaes 08:40, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

I said above that I had no opinion. I've formed one now. The current bulleted list is ugly and requires urgent action.

I don't reject "popular culture" sections outright, there could be a suitable section written for this article, but this is not it. It should be written in prose, have a few references added, and be somewhat interesting and relate to orangutans. As it is now, it's no more than a list of movies containing dogs, maybe as good as list of movies starring dogs. The fact that the list is shorter for orangutans than for dogs doesn't make it any more interesting or noteworthy. Lets have some references saying something like "Orangutans are usually portrayed as ..." (insert smart, powerful, stupid, manipulative, playful, whatever). --Scott Davis Talk 10:28, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

  • All I'll add is that consensus should be reached before any more edits including or removing the "pop culture" section are done. This isn't WP:LAME yet, but it is getting there quickly.--Isotope23 17:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps a compromise is one that has been used on other serious articles when someone tries to load them up with trivia, that is establish a Orangutans in Popular Culture article. This leaves everybody happy. --Michael Johnson 00:29, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

There you go, I've done it. --Michael Johnson 00:34, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Skin Color

There seem to be white-skinned Orangutans and black-skinned ones -- please describe. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:50, 25 December 2006 (UTC). Hmm, I've never heard of this, could it refer to the fact that young orangutans have lighter skin? --Apis O-tang (talk) 04:51, 6 April 2008 (UTC)


Where is the citation for the population figure? 60,000 Orangutan global population total is in stark contrast to the Rijksen & Meijaard survey carried out in 1999 that denotes a global population of 27,000 see here:[10] Monkeyspearfish 11:00, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

I've edited that section a bit and provided references to the IUCN redlist since the old reference actually had contradictory claims, although the figure in the article was about the same as indicated by my ref. --Apis O-tang (talk) 04:49, 6 April 2008 (UTC)


A friend told me that he had seen a documentary on animal homosexuality that mentioned that male Orang-utans can make their penises invaginate, so that they can mate with each other. I can't find any reference to this on the web, neither for Orang Utans, nor for other primates. Have any of you heard of such a thing? --Slashme 08:30, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Your friend was most likely pulling your leg. - UtherSRG (talk) 12:44, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure it was a leg being pulled? ;-) Merbabu 12:59, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Maybe I'm a bit too gullible, or maybe he is. --Slashme 05:56, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


Why is there seemingly no details about the orang-utan's diet here? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Why haven't you added it here? I don't have the info. Do you? - UtherSRG (talk) 15:11, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I would be thankful for some added references to the Diet section. Do they rely eat small vertebraes, and if, how common is it? If it's extremely rare (only observed once or twice etc) I don't think it should be included here since it would be misleading (at least in the articles current form). Also where is the 60% fruit figure from? that would mean they eat 40% vertebraes, egg, insects leaf and bark, that sounds like a lot to me (although im not an expert on the subject). --Apis O-tang 03:28, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the prompt update UtherSRG ^-^ --Apis O-tang 21:50, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


My reasons for removing the regional subspecies red links is that i dont think anyone will create articles about a subspecies which is of very little difference when compared to the main species - Ummagumma23 09:14 6 April 2007 (UTC).

So? Leave them as red links. Perhaps someone will. There are plenty of other articles that have gotten their start this way. Tehre may be very little physical difference, but perhaps the different regions have different policies so some subspecies are better protected, or some such thing. - UtherSRG (talk) 13:14, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Origin: to do

Letters to Nature

Nature 422, 61-65 (6 March 2003) | doi:10.1038/nature01449; Received 25 July 2002; Accepted 17 January 2003 A Middle Miocene hominoid from Thailand and orangutan origins

Yaowalak Chaimanee1, Dominique Jolly2, Mouloud Benammi3, Paul Tafforeau4, Danielle Duzer2, Issam Moussa4 and Jean-Jacques Jaeger4

  1. Paleontology Section, Geological Survey Division, Department of Mineral Resources, Bangkok -10400, Thailand
  2. Palynologie et Paléoenvironnements, I.S.E.M., cc 061, Place Eugene Bataillon, 34095-Montpellier, France
  3. Paleomagnetismo, Instituto de Geofisica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 04510 Mexico DF, Mexico
  4. Paléontologie, I.S.E.M., cc 064, Université Montpellier II, Place Eugene Bataillon, 34095-Montpellier, France 

Correspondence to: Jean-Jacques Jaeger4 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to J.-J.J. (e-mail: Email: Top of page

The origin of orangutans has long been debated. Sivapithecus is considered to be the closest ancestor of orangutans because of its facial–palatal similarities1, but its dental characteristics2 and postcranial skeleton2, 3 do not confirm this phylogenetic position. Here we report a new Middle Miocene hominoid, cf. Lufengpithecus chiangmuanensis n. sp. from northern Thailand. Its dental morphology relates it to the Pongo clade, which includes Lufengpithecus4, 5, Sivapithecus2, Gigantopithecus6, Ankarapithecus7 and possibly Griphopithecus8. Our new species displays striking dental resemblances with living orangutans and appears as a more likely candidate to represent an ancestor of this ape. In addition, it originates from the geographic area of Pleistocene orangutans. But surprisingly, the associated flora shows strong African affinities, demonstrating the existence of a temporary floral and faunal dispersal corridor between southeast Asia and Africa during the Middle Miocene, which may have played a critical role in hominoid dispersion.

Someone should paraphrase from the above, to add discussion of origins, for an origin section of this article. Web address for the above: Dogru144 09:54, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Etimology - Angola

Look up "Imbangala". Andrew Battell lived in Angola around 1600-1601 and Angola did in fact exist at that time.

Palm oil

I see the comments about the effect of palm oil plantations has been reverted as unencyclopedic and unsourced. Maybe it just needs a source? This seems to me to be an important conservation issue. --Slashme 07:35, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't matter if it is a fact or not, what matters in including nformation in this encyclopedia is whether it is correct and verifiable (which this is), and if this is written in a neutral (NPOV) fashion. Including just these two paragraphs fails NPOV: it is neither the only cause, nor is it shown to be the main cause. The first paragraph of the palm oil information was only substantiated by a very biased POV document. This just can not be an accepted source for Wikipedia information. Finally, Wikipedia is not a how-to manual; we are not to proscribe what people should or should not do, as this is again, not a NPOV stance to take. The second paragraph of the pal oil information was exactly a "you should do this", with a not so implied "or else" following it. Take a look at how the World Conservation Union IUCN talks about the threats to the Bornean Orangutan to see how they even keep a neutral, passive voice in describing the threats. Note that palm oil plantations (or plantations at all) are not even mentioned. - UtherSRG (talk) 13:12, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
You also can't cite yourself as a reference (I'm amazed that you actually have to be told that). I agree with you in principle (spare us the conspiracy theories, I'm not invested in palm oil futures), but you can't throw numbers and accusations around in Wikipedia without some better references. There is no "vandalism" happening here, you just aren't "getting it". MrRK 15:36, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The above second-person comments are directed at Johnvanzyl, not Slashme. MrRK 00:35, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, all valid points. However, check out WP:Revert. Is there some way to improve on the contributed text other than a simple revert? Sure, the guy posting the comments isn't adhering to NPOV, CITE, 3RR and a whole raft of WP policies. But seeing as you guys have checked out the IUCN page, and seem to have more of a clue about the issue than I do, maybe one of you could find a way to work the info into the page? --Slashme 05:54, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

requirements for inclusion have been very well addressed by uthersrg above. Are all those points explained in the flimsy reference provided? Merbabu 06:23, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
In fact, the gist of his information is already in the page. The article still contains these lines:
Orangutan habitat destruction due to logging, mining and forest fires has been increasing rapidly in the last decade.[14] A major factor in that period of time has been the conversion of vast areas of tropical forest to oil palm plantations, for the production of palm oil.[15] Some UN scientists believe that these plantations could lead to the extinction of the species by the year 2012.[16] Much of this activity is illegal, occurring in national parks that are officially off limits to loggers, miners and plantation development.[citation needed]
Anyone pushing "the palm oil agenda" would have removed this text as well, especially considering the lack of support for the last sentence. I'm probably wasting my keystrokes, since the poster doesn't even seen to be reading this page, but I hope it's clear to everyone else that his claim that his edits were "removed to conceal the palm oil agenda" is absolutely false. We're simply trying to maintain a reasonable standard of quality in the article. Issuing a call to action, telling people what they "should" do, citing one's own writing as a source, and referring to a propaganda piece as a "scientific study" just don't make the grade in an encyclopedia. MrRK 00:35, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, I kinda missed the part where it was already covered! Now I agree with those who remove the "soapboxing". --Slashme 05:39, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Orangutan Outreach external link

This link keeps being added and keeps getting reverted. I have not added the link and had not even seen the websitebefore I saw the link. However, whilst I do understand and fully support the WP:SPAM policy, I think that in this instance it is not appropriate. The website is not a spam link at all in my opinion and I feel it should remain as with all the other various similar links on this article. ♦Tangerines♦·Talk 23:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

There are just way too many links here. I've removed a great many of them. In addition, Wikipedia is not an advocacy site. - UtherSRG (talk) 00:28, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
  • About 2 weeks ago UtherSRG (Stacey Robert Greenstein) singled out Orangutan Outreach from a list of about a dozen others on the external links section of the Orangutan page. When I asked him why, he said that I couldn't put up a link to my own organization (I'm the Director). Fair enough. But Orangutan Outreach has supporters all over the world and when someone else put the link back up, he took it down again. I asked him why and he pointed out that Wikipedia is not a host to outside websites such as mine. I responded by pointing out that several other organizations listed on the page were no different than Orangutan Outreach. His answer was to simply take them all down. Rather harsh, I have to say. Hundreds if not thousands of Wikipedia pages contain similar lists of external links. Here are 10 examples:

Perhaps Mr. Greenstein would like to implement his policy on the entire Wikipedia?

Orangutan Outreach is a small non-profit organization. We are not some huge corporation advertising our products. We exist to make people aware of the plight of orangutans, who will be extinct in the wild within ten years if nothing is done to protect them now. We at Orangutan Outreach -- and at all the other Orangutan conservation organizations that Greenstein was kind enough to remove-- believe that we should make use of every possibility when it comes to promoting our cause- which, by the way, is entirely benevolent.

I'm completely baffled as to why someone would want to hinder conservation work... especially when they could just turn the other cheek and adopt a baby orangutan instead??? peace.....

user: redapes Richard Zimmerman Director, Orangutan Outreach

Removal of Sourced Material re. Entertainment/Protection

The two sections removed by Merbabu were serious and sourced and definitely pertain to the subject. Where else would this information about orangutans be located? I think that both of these sections should be reinstated and will do so if there is concensus among editors.Bob98133 (talk) 16:00, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

  1. Entertainment - belongs in a diffrent article, see Merbabu's edit summary
  2. Protection - violates WP:EL, as per Merbabu's edit summary
So no. They stay out. - UtherSRG (talk) 16:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Indeed - no. As stated by Merbabu in the edit summary, the "use in entertainment" section belongs in the Orangutans in popular culture article, not this one.♦Tangerines♦·Talk 17:00, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
OK - I agree. I wasn't aware of the popular culture article. I'll check that out. Sorry. Bob98133 (talk) 18:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Orangutan Video

The following is an excerpt of a discussion from a user's talk page that didn't get any attention about a revert, so I'm soliciting comments here. If I don't hear back again in a couple of days, I'll revert the revert. Please see [11] To summarize: I uploaded

using the "multi video" template, and it got reverted because I included an EL to a higher quality, longer running version hosted elsewhere, since commons has severe filesize limitations. Original text:

I spent a long time re-editing my orangutan video for a wikipedia audience. Wiki commons does not allow high quality, or any kind of length, so I had to reduce both, and remove audio. I linked back (directly) to the 'real' version of the video for this reason on my website that yes, has been up for longer than wikipedia itself, so is not going away.

Seeing a video of orangutan behavior in the 'wild', I believe, is an important addition to the article.

I'd prefer to present it without an EL, but the technical limitations on wiki commons and wikipedia don't allow for any form of justice to be done to videos, especially considering broadband penetration worldwide. So, I present both, as a compromise.

I'm one of I think two contributors in all of wikipeida that actually takes the time to create videos, converting videos to OGG/Theora format, editing down so they meet the size requirements, uploading them to commons, and linking to them. To run into reverts like this makes me feel like giving up.

Would it be better if I included a thumbnail from the video, with no embedded player in the article, and link to the commons page with the video of it? That would certainly look nicer instead of the huge ugly video template, but IMO a lot less convenient for viewers of the article as they can't view the video without leaving the article.♦ Isewell (talk) 22:28, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Previous discussion linked here. --Merbabu (talk) 22:37, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the video is needed at all. I watched it for awhile, until the ape was going on the rope. It's nothing anyone visiting a zoo can't see. - UtherSRG (talk) 23:25, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
What? Any picture of an orangutan is something that anyone at a zoo could see. In fact, any information here at all is something that most zoos would provide their visitors. Anyways, the video was not shot in a zoo, it was shot in the Sepilok rehabilitation center in Sandakan, Malaysian Borneo, one of the few places in the world where you can actually see orangutans outside captivity. This is the only CC licensed video in all of the commons - and it is very unlikely that wikipedia will get any other video of orangutans living outside a zoo. Isewell (talk) 02:51, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
UtherSRG did not say nor did they imply that the video was shot in a zoo. Sorry but I also agree that the video isn't needed.♦Tangerines♦·Talk 16:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Right. I didn't say it was filmed in a zoo. However, I don't recall walking through a wild forest and seeing wooden platforms with ropes between them either. The footage here depicts nothing that would not be found in footage of a captive animal in a zoo. Nor do I think, were this truly a video of orangutans in the wild, that we would need to put this in our article. - UtherSRG (talk) 16:36, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, whatever. I'm baffled by the attitude here; I give up. My point is that the chances of getting footage of Orangutans truly in the wild is next to nil, considering their status. If that footage ever appeared, I agree that that footage would definitely be more relevant then what I offered up, and should replace it. The question I always ask myself when deciding whether to contribute a video or a picture to an article is "Is this material that would help people understand better the subject presented? Would it help a student complete a project?" and to me the answer is a definite yes - A picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture, ten thousands words. What does it really look like when they move? When they eat? When they carry their young? These are all behaviours that are accurately depicted by the video of these magnificent animals in the semi-wild. Obviously, the editor community here doesn't agree with this and I won't push the point further. In addition, I won't bother with editing and converting any more of my wildlife videos - I get the message, the community here doesn't think videos of wildlife (or as close to the wild as you're realstically going to get) is relevant to this encyclopedia. If you don't agree, please help me out by pointing me to a policy that says where videos are useful contributions, and where they are not wanted. Isewell (talk) 21:15, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that there should not be video on the page, but what makes you think that it is impossible to get video of orangs in the wild? See Birutė Galdikas. My guess is she's taken plenty of video and that National Geographic or someone else has distributed it. What is "semi-wild"? Like semi-pregnant? :) Bob98133 (talk) 23:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
"Semi-Wild" means they are in the wild, but they are still relying in part on the rehabilitation center to provide them with food. They're no more in captivity then birds in your backyard eating out of a bird feeder - the only difference is that the birds don't give up on the bird feeder, but these orangutans do, and eventually will not return the feeding ground. Besides, good luck getting a National Geographic photographer to contribute free creative commons licensed video to Wikipedia. Isewell (talk) 05:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
And yet again :) - that wasn't what was said. You stated that "the chances of getting footage of orangutans truly in the wild is next to nil". Bob98133 merely questioned your point and pointed out that there perhaps is video. He didn't say anything about trying to get it on wikipedia.♦Tangerines♦·Talk 05:59, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I don't agree with the "you can see orangutans at the zoo" point of view. A lot of people don't live close to a zoo with orangutans. And even if they did, it's not relevant, if you argue like that everything in wikipedia would be superfluous. Indeed, a movie with an orangutan cracking nuts (tool use) in the wild (or something similar) would be better, but seeing how the article is already full of pictures of orangutans that actually are at a zoo (unlike in the movie) I don't really understand why a movie wouldn't be wanted. That being said, I think the movie could be shorted down a little, it's enough to have a few seconds of a mom with a baby and an orangutan eating fruit or something like that. The subtext should be left out (theres a description next to the movie already) and the sound is mostly of people speaking so that isn't really necessary either. A lot of people still have low bandwidth connections so it's good to keep it small. I'm going to add an external link to the video at least. And while on the subject: Who says the "laughing" orangutan is laughing? that sounds a bit unscientific to me? I mean, is the term laughing even relevant to an animal other than humans? --Apis O-tang (talk) 23:44, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I would have to say I agree with the above comments, and cannot understand the opposition to this video. It shows some interesting behaviours, and while not absolutely "wild" it is in-sutu, which at least gives a good impression of their natural habitat. Video adds another dimension to articles, and is hard to get. We should be grasping this offer with both hands. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:04, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I've been bold and added the video in the conservation section. It replaces a nondescript photo of "Orangutan in captivity" and relates directly to this section, as it is video taken at the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, which is mentioned in this section. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:28, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Orangutans in the media

I've just made an Orangutan sub-heading in the writer Terry Pratchett's article, as he has an interest in them. A lot of the article is still being developed, but I think it will stick. I thought of linking to it from a section in here that listed people who have an interest in them - then I found of course that this article has no such information! Wikipedia tends to have those kind of things, or a media section at least. Fair enough if no one thinks rhey are needed, just thought I'd say. It could be a good way of getting in useful links, as WP recommends that the specific Reference sections can't be filled with 'trivia' (meant in the less-harsh sense of general 'interest links'). --Matt Lewis (talk) 09:50, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

There is this article - [[]] if that helps.♦Tangerines♦·Talk 16:46, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Hey thanks, you've got one! Pratchett is actually in it, which is great. I managed to look through the 'See Also' list and not notice the link. Maybe it was because it was the last one - and some of the ones above were rather technical. I didn't notice it was alphabetical, and expected a sub-article to be above Ability to swim etc. You might consider having tOrangutans in popular culture as a heading, with a short paragraph, or even just a sentence, and place the link to the sub article in a line of its own (I see this a lot). Saving that- just move it up! Cheers, --Matt Lewis (talk) 17:27, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Ability to swim

This has now been merged to swimming, but what does this have to do with orangutans? I think readers will find this confusing unless we add something about them swimming (if they do) into the text. Richard001 (talk) 08:36, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I've never heard of them swimming, and since they spend most of their lives up in the canopy I doubt they do. I know gorillas and chimps fear water, thats why there often is a water filled "moat" around their areas at zoo's to keep them from wandering off. --Apis O-tang (talk) 23:52, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
There's a sentence that mentions that orangutans and the other apes can't swim in the ability to swim article. So that's probably why it was added to the see also section. --Apis O-tang (talk) 05:50, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

tool use

Added information, but in a hidden comment, because I keep screwing up the links.

Also I know we are not supposed to copy and paste direct quotes, so it needs to be changed from the source: "Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.

Specifically the orangutans were using sticks to pry open pulpy fruits that have “Plexiglas needles” capable of delivering a painful jab covering them. Using the tools, the orangutans were getting past handling the prickly husk and into the nutritious fruit. From an anthropological viewpoint, tool use represents an aspect of culture, since the entire group participates in a behavior that has developed over time. One unique thing to clarify is that only Sumatran orangutans have been observed to use tools, not orangutans from Borneo." FX (talk) 14:04, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed edit from article, as it seems to be against a rule.

Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra


source - --

FX (talk) 14:10, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


Shouldn't this article be "Orang-utan", rather than "Orangutan"? In Borneo they are called Orang-utans and even the WWF refer to them with the name hyphenated. Why is there no hyphen? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Riksweeney (talkcontribs) 14:04, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

We follow MSW3 for mammalian taxonomy and common names. - UtherSRG (talk) 21:23, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Pls link the topic of primatology to this article

as they are closely related —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:29, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Family Life?

While i commend the editor on the information in this article i have found a broad gap in the social aspect of the orangutan. There is nothing written about long their gestation period is or any specifics about how they raise their young beyond how long they remain with their mothers. I would add this info myself but i'm not sure of the details, and have no wish to mislead others. (RJSD) —Preceding unsigned comment added by RJSD (talkcontribs) 22:39, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

That is the problem. It is better that no information be added to Wikipedia rather than add information that may be incorrect. So Wikipedia relies on people like me and you to get the information together and add it to articles. If you have the time maybe you can take yourself off to a library and pick up the information. Make sure to reference it. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:05, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


No explanation of the flanged anywhere?Luminifer (talk) 10:45, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Social behaviour

"Although orangutans are generally passive, aggression toward other orangutans is very common; they are solitary animals and can be fiercely territorial. Immature males will try to mate with any female, and may succeed in forcibly copulating with her if she is also immature and not strong enough to fend him off. Mature females easily fend off their immature suitors, preferring to mate with a mature male."

Because orangutans have often been observed wandering about on themselves, they have been regarded as solitary animals for a long time. Due to this assumption, at many zoos they have lived/live alone which usually led/leads to great loneliness and suffering for the animals.

As recent studies have revealed (like the observations of Willie Smits, founder of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation), orangutans do enjoy the company of members of their own kind.

It is assumed that their relatively often solitary travelling is due to a shortage of sufficient food in the rainforests on Borneo and Sumatra. If they travelled in larger groups, the chances that the found food would be enough for every member would be rather small.

But it has been discovered that when there is enough food for several individuals in one place (like when a great fig tree is bearing fruit), many orangutans gather together and prove to be very sociable (playing, communicating, ...).

Averaged, there are more fruits for the orangutans growing in the rainforests on Sumatra than on Borneo (except for the years when many trees on Borneo are bearing fruit at the same time). —Preceding unsigned comment added by AnnaMaria15 (talkcontribs) 17:45, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Besides, there are also mothers with their children, who were seen, travelling in the company of a few younger males. The risk that they ate so much that there would not be enough left for the mother is not that high. Also young males without their own territory have been watched wandering together.

Actually all versions of forming groups have been observed so far, except for two dominant males due to them being territory.

--AnnaMaria15 18:50, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


The wiki article on Cannibalism states that humans, who are also great apes, sometimes eat their children. A google search for "chimpanzee cannibalism" turns up a bunch of instances. This is just sloppy reporting from the BBC. They probably don't consider humans to be apes, and nobody fact-checked the article. Not the editor's fault for posting this - I guess Wiki just has higher standards than the BBC! Bob98133 (talk) 15:55, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I believe the remarkable instance in this case was that the orangutans were eating their own young. There are numerous accounts of chimpanzees cannibalising other chimp's viable and non-viable young, but not their own as far as I'm aware. Ape is often used as a non-human term by non-academic and non-scientific publications. The BBC (although a respected source) is still basically a layman's publication. Copana2002 (talk) 16:45, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. You're right about the quote being more specific, but it seemed like one of those things (the only, the biggest, etc.) that would cause trouble. I wouldn't ordinarily revert a well-referenced ph. It's fine with me if you want to put something back about this instance of them eating their young, but probably best to leave out the only ape part. Bob98133 (talk) 22:20, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Why is my link being deleted?

This is my first attempt at editing a Wikipage. I'm simply trying to add a link to the Australian Orangutan Project - one of the worlds largest non-profits attempting to protect the welfare and habitat of the orangutan. The site has lots of information about the orangutan (academic, news, photographic etc). But it keeps getting deleted and I'm not sure why. I've been searching Wiki for over an hour trying to figure out what I've done - but I'm unable to even contact the person who deleted it. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

--EscapedApe (talk) 15:15, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Read WP:EL. I haven't looked at the link you posted, but it sounds like an advocacy web site. Even though it presents a lot of information, unless and even if each page is foot-noted to the orignal source, it is still from a group that has a stated POV. The standards for external links are also fairly high or else that section would quickly become bloated. Check out the info under the Help link on left nav. Also, just adding an EL to an article is somewhat suspect since that sort of link-spamming is frequently attempted on Wiki. Have fun, EscapedApe. Bob98133 (talk) 19:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I can understand why there are strict controls on linking, but the other links are our peer organisations with exactly the same information on their sites. In fact, one that is not like ours, the site has a link and they claim that palm oil plantations have nothing to do with orangutan loss of habitat (which, if you know anything about the situation is absurd). I also can't talk to the person who deleted my links MrOllie because I'm not "experienced" enough to be allowed to talk to him? Sigh. EscapedApe (talk) 23:14, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Wow. You were right. The EL section was bloated with charities and advocacy groups. I can better understand your frustration. That still doesn't mean that the link you want to post is appropriate, but at least the other similar links are now gone. You should be able to post comments to any other editor's talk page by clicking on that link. If another editor does not allow you to post, post a help-me template message on your talk page and an administrator will help you. You'll have to look up how to do that - sorry I forget. Bob98133 (talk) 00:01, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Great, thanks a lot for that help, it's much appreciated.

EscapedApe (talk) 01:56, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Bob, links don't have to be to neutral sites only; if they did, we'd hardly be able to post any -- if any at all. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:04, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Removed claim of new black-haired species discovered by Galdikas

I have just removed the text from the Ecology section claiming Galdikas to have discovered a new species, the black-haired Bornean orang-utan. This is incorrect. A new population was discovered at this time by Erik Meijaard and his team of ecologists - see - but this was a population of a previously discovered Bornean subspecies, Pongo pygmaeus morio. Galdikas has never discovered an orang-utan population and was merely commenting on the significance of the discovery. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:00, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Technically, I believe, this statement is inaccurate "and their hair is typically reddish-brown, instead of the brown or black hair typical of other great apes". Humans are a species of great ape and my hair is blonde, my mother's is red and my father's is brown. Numerically, humans are far more abundant than any other great ape and there is no "typical" hair color. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:22, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Among humans blond hair is very rare. Black must be by a wide margin the most common, followed by brown. ----Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 23:11, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Orangutans closer to humans than chimps?

Check this out;

Shouldn't this study be mentioned since it is pretty mainstream. Interesting in how humans share more physical features with these apes. (talk) 11:36, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Graphic should show upright stance?

This article and discussion suggests that the orangutan's stance in the article graphic is dubious, and an upright stance would be more appropriate. Studies by the Liverpool University PREMOG group also indicate an upright stance: see this page. . . dave souza, talk 17:49, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


"One population of orangutan has learned to use boats by imitating humans." -Wiki

This confuses me, I have been looking through the sources and through my own search can not find anything to back this up. Seeing this is a huge claim, can someone provide me with a source or direct me to a part of source I may have missed?

Thanks Jeff Dalek (talk) 19:55, 16 January 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jeff Dalek (talkcontribs) 03:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

It sounds slightly implausible. I have commented out the sentence until someone gives a good source. Ucucha 08:00, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree - seems implausible. There is a ref for this at [12] under Unusual Facts, but there is no supporting reference and this source does not appear reliable. Bob98133 (talk) 13:36, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmmmm! Seems like I recall an episode of Orangutan Island on the Animal Planet that had something to do with an escape using a boat docked at the landing. I did a quick scan of the episode write-ups but didn't find any reference to what I recall. At any rate, to me it would be a bit unremarkable even if found; so I gave up. I certainly concur removal of the statement. Pinethicket (talk) 13:58, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Here's a report with picture dating from feb 2011 about this :

And here's a videoclip :

Seems like it's for real, and it's dangerous. (talk) 02:56, 18 June 2011 (UTC)L.D.

And another evidence : (talk) 14:17, 18 June 2011 (UTC) L.D.

I tend to agree with that comment from back in January - "a bit unremarkable". I'm not surprised by the videos. Orangutans copy many human activities. I am, however, a little sceptical about the eating babies story. I would want to see that verified through better known reliable sources. HiLo48 (talk) 23:36, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Let me disagree with the unremarkable caracter of this. The capacity of Orangutans to steal boats and use them, by their own will, exactly for what humans intended them, which is navigating on water, becomes relevant considering that they are apparently the only Apes capable of such sophisticated behavior. The big question is : what Ape is the closest to humans in terms of intellectual performance ? Many signs seem to point to Orangutans as the winners of this 'contest', and the spontaneous using of boats on rivers is one of those signs.

But I agree with your skepticism regarding this baby-eating story. I couldn't find any corroborating story, anywhere else. L.D. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:38, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Torrubirubi, 5 April 2010


I would like to correct the sentence: "Orangutans do not swim." I know three published references saying the opposite. Thanks, Renato Bender Torrubirubi (talk) 08:36, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Please give us details of the publications, and reinstate the request.
Requests to edit semi-protected articles must be accompanied by reference(s) to reliable sources.
Thank you.  Chzz  ►  09:13, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Not done

Meaning of "Pongo"?

Where does the term "Pongo" come from? Is it Latin or East Asian in origin? -- (talk) 07:10, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

It comes from "mpongo", a Congolese word. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 07:52, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Tool Use and Culture--observing really elementary principles of writing style

"Wild chimpanzees have been known to use tools since the 1960s" should, clearly, be revised to: "Wild chimpanzees have been known since the 1960's to use tools." Articles should be scrutinized for this kind of (obvious) clumsiness before they are locked.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

This article has been vandalized repeatedly, and we find it easier to deal with this way. Try using {{editsemiprotected}} next time when pointing out a change you think is needed, and please keep a civil tongue. - UtherSRG (talk) 03:49, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Orangutan And palm oil

Everyone loves orangutan no question on that . Many of us want to do something to help. But pointing fingers to the palm plantation is not a solution. Palm oil is THE major food source for 250 million Indonesian population, from cooking oil , soaps to cosmetics , the list goes on . 15 million people feed their families from working directly / indirectly around palm oil , if you would count in the downstream products, the numbers could be 150 million people or more worldwide ,ex : food & snack , soap , cosmetic factories workers. Until such day that someone could provide an equally affordable cooking oil alternative to palm oil for Indonesia's population , where large percentage still lives below poverty line, the palm oil is here to stay . Many basic things that people from the developed countries took for granted , are simply still unreachable by those here. Cooking oil being one major product.

I see so many organizations around the world are fighting to save the orangutans , perhaps these groups should raise funds together , and negotiate some land / islands from the Indonesian Govt , setup a small "orangutan country , with expert teams , and I would say the orangutan will be with us for a long long time to come without anymore threads of extinction from forest fire , lost of habitats etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fioritan (talkcontribs) 19:46, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

This page is to discuss improving the article, not the impact of palm oil or strategies to save orangutans. Bob98133 (talk) 00:06, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

I just asked this question at Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Miscellaneous, but I hope you will not mind if I post it here (and also at maybe another page or two) since you would be the most knowledgeable editors on the question.

I am looking for help identifying a nature documentary I saw when I was a child (mid-'90s). It follows the communal life of a particular group of orangutans in the wild (but maybe gorillas or chimps??).

Unfortunately, I can only remember one scene -- but if you saw it, you too would never forget it:

One of the orangutans is an infant, and he is being raised by his mother or perhaps his aunt. She carries him around piggy-back style, like most orangutans do. But the weird thing is, he never outgrows this, even as he grows into a large adolescent. He never permits her to put him down -- in fact, now he can force her to carry him. Then she gets polio. Carrying him saps her of her strength, and she dies. Without her, he too dies.

Thank you for your help. (talk) 08:53, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

This page is for discussing changes and improvements to this article.Good luck in your search. Try or sites that accommodate questions like this. Bob98133 (talk) 12:31, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Does this page need to remain locked?

As I look at the edit history, I don't see a compelling reason. (talk) 19:56, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Um, is there a reason to keep this page locked? (talk) 01:53, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
From January to March this year, the page had around 50 edits from unregistered IP users - one of them constructively added a line about the Malay language, a couple corrected minor details of punctuation, a couple were well-meaning but inappropriate statements, and the remaining 90% were straight vandalism. It meets the "All or almost all of the vandalism is coming from unregistered users." and "Unregistered editors should be making very few contributions to the article compared to the amount of vandalism coming from unregistered editors." guidelines of WP:ROUGH. --McGeddon (talk) 08:27,
Protected pages that aren't too sensitive should be unprotected every now and then to see if the vandalism level has become manageable. Five months of protection is long enough to warrant a test. I am going to unprotect this page and watch it to see what its vandalism level is like. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 02:35, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Malay Orangutans?

Just out of curiousity, is it likely that orangutans ever lived in the Malayisia Region? Given the etymology, I would assume so. I don't have the resources, but someone ought to research that. My hypothesis is that, before history was ever recorded there, they were in abundance there. Over time, poaching and deforestation due to colonists in the region drove them out, leaving them only in Borneo and Sumatra. However, I'm not limiting them to those three places- they could have lived in Java, Thailand, even as far as Sri Lanka.''Italic text--Athena156 (talk) 12:47, 24 October 2010 (UTC)--Athena156 (talk) 12:47, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Orangutans can currently be found in the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, both in Borneo, and orangutan fossils have been found in peninsular Malaysia -- both facts from the current revision of the article. -- (talk) 16:12, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Improper citation

The claim that Birute Galdika was raped by an orangutan is not supported by the associated citation. The article cited mentions that Galdika's cook was raped. (talk) 16:09, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Galdikas Rape Error

In the section entitled "Sexual Interest in Human Females," one sentence states, "Noted primatologists [sic] Birutė Galdikas was raped by an orangutan while studying them." The following sentence (regarding Julia Roberts) contains citation #37 that apparently applies to both sentences. The citation is to a book review, which states, "Male orangutans procreate by rape and have been known to rape the women studying them (Galdikas' cook was raped)." I think this is a fairly significant error in the Wikipedia article, particularly considering Galdikas' prominence in the field. I don't have the authorization to correct it myself, but as an anthropology student, I figured it was important enough to bring to the attention of someone who could fix the error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Hello, sorry, but I took that sentence out for the time being. Can you provide a good source for the Galdikas cook incident? That would be very helpful. Thanks!Bob98133 (talk) 17:45, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

There is already a source, it mentioned in the Salon article. I'm restoring it again. And it has already been corrected to say it was her cook and not her. Dream Focus 19:14, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The Salon article reads: Male orangutans procreate by rape and have been known to rape the women studying them (Galdikas' cook was raped). This was almost the fate of Julia Roberts when she made a documentary at Camp Leakey in 1996. One male took a shine to her and grabbed her as she walked along a path. Luckily, a film crew was present, though it took five men to free her from the ape's grasp. Dream Focus 19:18, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Found other places mentioning this. Added in an additional source from a book. [13] You can read that page there showing in detail what happened. A well documented case by a noted researcher. Dream Focus 19:23, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Semi solitary

It is misleading to say that orangutans are solitary; all scientists working with orangutans term them semi-solitary. Mothers stay with their young for several years. Young are observed to play with other young, even if the mothers do not interact. During times of mast ,and mass fruiting of particular species, mainly figs,they have been observed to congregate. This is not to mention interactions between flanged males and the females.

I would strongly urge that the term solitary be removed and be replaced by semi-solitary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guillaumefeldman (talkcontribs) 18:25, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

this may sound weird but, how does a orangutan have well intercourse?

I'm assuming you mean position? From behind, like all other apes but man. --Kurtle (talk) 16:31, 4 April 2011 (UTC)