June 25, 2022

The level of tool usage demonstrated by wild populations has historically been used to measure intelligence in great apes, especially since tool use and manipulation was originally regarded to be a distinctly human talent.

As a result, chimps, who employ a dizzying array of complex tools at numerous research sites across Africa, have long been considered of as the most intellectual non-human primate and the one most similar to humans.


Meanwhile, gorillas have long been mocked in the popular press for their lack of intelligence, owing to the lack of evidence of tool use in the wild.

Orangutans have always been classified as being somewhere in between the two, however recent study on captive orangutans and laboratory testing on captive orangutans have cast doubt on this.

Does this imply that Rocky the orangutan will ultimately be able to communicate in human terms?

“The core capacities are present,” Lameira says, “but they’re probably hidden.” The trouble is that, even if apes and monkeys possess the proper vocal equipment to generate the appropriate noises, scientists are baffled as to why they wish to vocalize in the first place.

Primates do not appear to connect speech to mind the way humans do. They’re usually better at communicating with their hands and bodies. Lameira explains that more research in the wild is needed to figure out what inspires orangutans to make calls in their natural habitat. Under the correct circumstances, it may be possible to train an ape like Rocky to ‘speak’ once this is known.

“Don’t talk like us,” he urges, “since that is a total of several capacities together.” Vowel and consonant sounds, as well as how to blend them into syllables, might be taught to him.

So the puzzle isn’t finished, but it’s getting better.

“We can find different components, predecessors to language,” Clarke adds, “but we haven’t found anything we’d necessarily equate with full language.”

However, words alone do not constitute human communication. Grammar and syntax are features of languages that some believe are hardwired into the human brain. Nobody has yet seen evidence that other primates are born with this specific ability.

Researchers believe orangutans and humans are linked by physical qualities rather than simply genetic ones. One of these characteristics is that “humans and orangutans actually have a hairline,” in contrast to practically all primates, according to Jeffrey Schwartz, co-author of a report on our shared ancestors. We both have hair that “reaches the top of the eyes.”

They have a hairline
They have a hairline

They have similar features in their mouths.

Orangutans have 28 physical characteristics in common with humans, which is 26 more than chimps and 21 more than gorillas. We both have flat molars that are covered in a thick coating of enamel within our mouths. “A hole in the roof of the mouth that was allegedly unique to humans is also present in orangs,” says researcher Schwartz.

They have similar mouth features
They have similar mouth features

They age similarly to us.

Researchers published in Veterinary Pathology discovered that orangutans, like other great apes, age similarly to humans. Humans outlive all other great apes, but we all suffer from tooth, bone, and muscle loss; sensory impairment; cardiovascular illness; hair loss and graying; frailty; and arthritis, which can manifest itself in a hundred various ways in humans. Examine the evidence of evolution that remain on your body.

They age like we do
They age like we do

Blades, brains, and bones

Other distinguishing characteristics that distinguish orangutans from chimps, bonobos, and gorillas? They have “higher asymmetries between the left and right sides of the brain, an increased cartilage-to-bone ratio in the forearm, and similarly curved shoulder blades,” according to National Geographic.

Brains, bones, and blades
Brains, bones, and blades

They form a link with Mom.

According to Orangutan Foundation International, “perhaps only humans have a more intense attachment with their moms.” “Primatologists believe orangutans have such extended ‘childhoods’ because they have so much to learn before they can successfully live alone.” Infant orangutans stay with their mothers until they are around 8 years old, nursing almost the entire time.

They bond with Mom
They bond with Mom

We discuss pregnancy symptoms.

Cheryl Knott, a biological anthropologist who studies orangutans in Indonesia’s Gunung Palung National Park, discovered a remarkable parallel between humans and these shaggy red-haired big apes. “We and orangutans are so similar,” National Geographic said, “that Knott can use normal drugstore test kits on urine from female orangutans to identify whether they’re pregnant.”

F.A.Q: How smart are orangutans compared to humans?

Do orangutans have more strength than chimps?

What exactly is this? Orangutans are substantially taller and weigh nearly twice as much as chimps. As a result, if the two got into a fight, orangutans would win since they have more muscle mass and strength in general.

Which ape is the most intelligent?

When Bill Hopkins first encountered Kanzi, a 2-year-old bonobo, 31 years ago, he was a Georgia State graduate student. Kanzi would go on to become the world’s brightest ape, one of just three creatures capable of communicating sentiments, preferences, and wants to humans.

Are chimps more intelligent than gorillas?

Experiments with a captive gorilla in this lab reveal that gorillas, long thought to be less clever than chimps, may actually be their intellectual equals.


It’s also been suggested that orangutans in the wild don’t utilize complicated tools because they don’t have to. Although animals in captive and semi-wild conditions have demonstrated that orangutans have the intelligence and cognitive ability to manufacture and utilize tools, orangutans have lived in the wild for millions of years without doing so.


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