Ouch! Orangutans Eat Slow Lorises.

Credit: Malene Thyssen via <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pongo_pygmaeus_(orangutang).jpg">PhotogrWikimedia Commonspher</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

A new paper in the American Journal of Primatology reports on new instances of adult female Sumatran orangutans eating slow lorises.

From the paper:

We report 3 rare cases of meat-eating of slow lorises, Nycticebus coucang, by 1 Sumatran orangutan mother–infant dyad in Ketambe, Indonesia, to examine how orangutans find slow lorises and share meat.

In the video below, you can see a female after she knocked a slow loris out of a tree and bit it on the head (probably to avoid getting bitten herself since lorises have poisonous saliva), then carried it back to eat in the tree and try not to share it with her infant.

As  Madeleine Hardus at the University of Amsterdam et al report:

The mother often rejected meat sharing requests and only the infant initiated meat sharing.

   

     

Unlike chimpanzees, who hunt when fruit and their energy are abundant, the authors of this paper found orangs hunt only when fruit is scarce.

Slow loris captures occurred only during low ripe fruit availability, suggesting that meat may represent a filler fallback food for orangutans.

The authors also found that orangutans eat their meat more than twice as slowly as chimpanzees. Does this signify anything for human evolution?

Using orangutan data as a model, time spent chewing per day would not require an excessive amount of time for our social ancestors (australopithecines and hominids), as long as meat represented no more than a quarter of their diet.

Still, it’s way better to tickle your slow loris than eat it, even slowly.

 

 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate