It is about the first new sort of great apes confirmed by the science since 1929. A new sort of orangutan was discovered on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, announced, on Thursday, November 2nd, scientists whose works are published in the American magazine Current Biology. These biologists also underlined that their small number in fact one of the most endangered sorts of great apes on the planet.
This new orangutan, baptized Tapanuli , lives in the region of Batang Toru in the North of Sumatra, and his population is estimated(esteemed) to approximately 800 members. This discovery carries in three the number of known sorts(species) of orangutan.
" It is not every day that we find a new sort of great apes, what returns this very exciting discovery ", was delighted Michael Krutzen, of the university of Zurich in Switzerland(Swiss). " Great apes matter nevertheless among the animal species the most studied to the world ", besides underlined Erik Meijaard, of the Australian national University.
Older lineage of these monkeys It is in 1997 when researchers of the Australian national university discovered the track of this population isolated to Batang Toru. The first indications of the specificity of Tapanuli were observed on the skeleton of a male adult killed in 2013. When the scientists examined the skull and the teeth, they noticed certain unique lines distinguishing them from other orang-utangs.
"We were surprised seeing that the characteristics of the skull were really different from what we knew until then of these great apes", explained Matt Nowak, a primatologist of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation schedule (SOCP).
But it is an analysis of the genome of 37 orang-utangs, made by researchers of the university of Zurich, that revealed the history of the evolution of these monkeys. She showed the separation, there are more than 3 million years, between the populations of orang-utangs of Batang Toru and those of Borneo, in the North of the lake Toba.
The orang-utangs of Borneo and Sumatra separated genetically much more late, there is less seven hundred thousand years. As for those of Batang Toru, they isolated at other populations in the North of Borneo since ten or twenty thousand years, also determined these researchers.