New Great Ape Stirs Hopes of Finding Mysterious Sumatran Cryptid

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Leaving out people to be able to keep away from arguments, biologists acknowledge solely six official species of nice apes: the Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, the jap and western gorillas, the frequent chimpanzee and the bonobo. That quantity went up by one this week with the announcement of the invention of a brand new distinct species of orangutan in Sumatra. Whereas there’s not many, the truth that they’ve existed this lengthy with out discovery raises the query: might the cryptid referred to as the Orang Pendek be hiding on this densely forested island as properly?

Present Biology revealed a report this week on the discovering. Tales of a mysterious tree-climbing ape have been informed for years by the locals within the Tapanuli area of North Sumatra, distant and remoted from areas the place the recognized species of Sumatran orangutans stay. They had been stated to nest in timber and subsist on durian and rambutan fruits. These tales attracted researchers who noticed proof however no precise apes.

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Not one of many new species however nonetheless fairly spectacular

The breakthrough got here in 2013 when an grownup orangutan was killed by locals. The researchers had been capable of receive the stays and located them to be bodily totally different from the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans. Particularly, it had a smaller cranium, frizzier physique hair, a flatter face and wider canine tooth. The vocal calls had been additionally noticeably totally different. That prompted DNA testing, which proved that the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) was a genetically distinct species from the opposite Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean species (Pongo pygmaeus). (pictures of Tapanuli orangutan accessible right here)

The researchers speculate that the Tapanuli orangutan cut up off from the others over three million years in the past. Sadly, the inhabitants is lower than 800, making them the rarest of nice apes. Regardless of these low numbers, they nonetheless exist and have remained rumored however hidden for hundreds of years. Might the identical be true for the Orang Pendek? Might they be associated?

The Orang Pendek is Sumatra’s Man of the woods – a bipedal ape-like creature that exists in native mythology and has been reportedly seen by guests/invaders relationship again to Marco Polo. Some cryptozoologists speculate it might be one more orangutan species that cut up off 75,000 years in the past after the violent eruption of the Lake Toba volcano. Witnesses describe them as extra bi-pedal and fewer tree-oriented than orangutans with a broader eating regimen that features stolen farm greens along with fruits. The latest reported sightings have centered within the Kerinci Seblat Nationwide Park within the Kerinci Regency of central Sumatra.

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Not fairly bipedal — might the Orang Pendek be one other spinoff of the orangutan?

Primarily based on the invention of the Tapanuli orangutan, possibilities of one other species hiding within the dense Sumatran forests all of a sudden turn into extra favorable. Ought to the hunt for the Orang Pendek escalate whereas they could nonetheless exist? There are lower than 800 Tapanuli orangutans in a 1,000 sq. kilometer are and a big portion of it is going to be flooded in 2022 by a hydropower plant. Saving this endangered species ought to most likely be pursued first, because the park is protected.

Time is operating out. Will Sumatra be the place the place the primary Man of the woods-like creature is lastly captured? The pursuit of cash has nearly at all times taken precedent over the saving of uncommon creatures – regular or cryptid. Therein lies the reply.

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