Wild orangutans are known for their ability to survive food shortages, but scientists have made a surprising finding that highlights the need to protect the habitat of these critically endangered primates, which face rapid habitat destruction and threats linked to climate change. Scientists found that the muscle mass of orangutans on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia was significantly lower when less fruit was available. That’s remarkable because orangutans are thought to be especially good at storing and using fat for energy, according a Rutgers-led study in the journal Scientific Reports.
Hard plant foods may have made up a larger part of early human ancestors’ diet than currently presumed, according to a new experimental study of modern tooth enamel from Washington University in St. Louis. The results have implications for reconstructing diet, and potentially for our interpretation of the fossil record of human evolution, researchers said.