Pongo – Orangutans
Considered one species until 1996, when a second species were identified. A third was described in 2017!
Orangutans share a common ancestor with modern-day humans, that lived nearly 10-12 million years ago. Some scientists and researchers have proposed to include orangutans with other hominids (great apes), but others think they are quite distinct for that, both morphologically and behaviorally.
Orangutans spend most of their life in the trees and have many extreme adaptations to support a suspensory lifestyle and behavior. Immature males and females are almost entirely arboreal, whereas adult males frequently descend to the ground to travel. Their forelimbs are long with hook-like hands and curved fingers that aid in jumping. At the same time, their hindlimbs are short with hand-like feet that assist in hanging from the trees.
Species in this genus
The most common of the three orangutans species. How common? ‘Critically endangered’ common
Once distributed over the entire island of Sumatra, now restricted to the north of the island
The frizzy-haired, mustached Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered great ape on Earth