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[翻译]SCIENCE IN THE NEWS - New Orangutan Species Discovered in Indonesia

更新时间:2017/11/13 10:32:11 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Scientists say they have discovered a new species of orangutans on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra.


The population differs in several ways from the two existing orangutan species found in Sumatra and the neighboring island of Borneo.


The orangutans were found inside North Sumatra’s Batang Toru forest, the science publication Current Biology reported.


Researchers named the new species the Tapanuli orangutan. They say the animals are considered a new species because of genetic, skeletal and tooth differences.

研究人员将这种新物种命名为打巴奴里猩猩(Tapanuli orangutan)。他们表示,因为基因、骨骼和牙齿的差异,这种动物被认为是一种新物种。

Michael Kruetzen is a geneticist with the University of Zurich who has studied the orangutans for several years. He said he was excited to be part of the unusual discovery of a new great ape in the present day. He noted that most great apes are currently considered endangered or severely endangered.

Michael Kruetzen是苏黎世大学一名研究猩猩多年的遗传学家。他说,他很高兴成为目前这种新类人猿的不寻常发现的一部分。他指出,目前大多数类人猿都处于濒危或严重濒危状态。

Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos also belong to the great ape species.


Orangutan – which means person of the forest in the Indonesian and Malay languages - is the world’s biggest tree-living mammal. The orange-haired animals can move easily among the trees because their arms are longer than their legs. They live more lonely lives than other great apes, spending a lot of time sleeping and eating fruit in the forest.


The new study said fewer than 800 of the newly-described orangutans exist. Their low numbers make the group the most endangered of all the great ape species.


They live within an area covering about 1,000 square kilometers. The population is considered highly vulnerable. That is because the environment which they depend on is greatly threatened by development.


Researchers say if steps are not taken quickly to reduce the current and future threats, the new species could become extinct “within our lifetime.”


Research into the new species began in 2013, when an orangutan protection group in Sumatra found an injured orangutan in an area far away from the other species. The adult male orangutan had been beaten by local villagers and died of his injuries. The complete skull was examined by researchers.


Among the physical differences of the new species are a notably smaller head and frizzier hair. The Tapanuli orangutans also have a different diet and are found only in higher forest areas.


There is no unified international system for recognizing new species. But to be considered, discovery claims at least require publication in a major scientific publication.


Russell Mittermeier is head of the primate specialist group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. He called the finding a “remarkable discovery.” He said it puts responsibility on the Indonesian government to help the species survive.

Russell Mittermeier是国际自然保护联盟灵长类专家组的负责人。他称这是“一次非凡的发现。”他说,这使得印尼政府有责任帮助该物种生存。

Matthew Nowak is one of the writers of the study. He told the Associated Press that there are three groups of the Tapanuli orangutans that are separated by non-protected land.

Matthew Nowak是该研究的作者之一。他对美联社表示,有三群打巴奴里猩猩,它们被非保护区隔离开来。

He said forest land needs to connect the separated groups.


In addition, the writers of the study are recommending that plans for a hydropower center in the area be stopped by the government.


It also recommended that remaining forest in the Sumatran area where the orangutans live be protected.


I’m Bryan Lynn.

Words in This Story

species – n. group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants; a group of related animals or plants that is smaller than a genus

endangered – adj. used to describe a type of animal or plant that has become very rare and that could die out completely

vulnerable – adj. easy to hurt or attack physically or emotionally

extinct – adj. no longer existing

frizzy – adj. very tightly curled hair

primate – n. any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys

remarkable – adj. unusual or surprising; likely to be noticed