Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Orangutans More Energy Efficient Than Any Primate

Orangutans are more economical than any other primate, including humans. A new study found that orangutans need less food fuel than we do for the same, or greater, levels of activity.

In general, birds use more energy than mammals, which require more energy than marsupials that in turn need more fuel than reptiles. But among mammals, orangutans merit an Energy Star label.

Orangutans "require less food than humans, pound-for-pound," lead author Herman Pontzer told Discovery News. When they do eat, orangutans nibble mostly on ripe fruit, along with smaller portions of leaves and seeds.

Even in captivity, this diet doesn't diminish an orangutan's get-up-and-go.

"They wake up early, after a long night's sleep," explained Pontzer, an assistant professor of anthropology at Washington University. "Then they spend the day socializing, exploring their indoor or outdoor enclosures. ... They also regularly engage in games with researchers."

Full story here.

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