Evolution of Orangutans

Topics: Primate, Hominidae, Ape Pages: 2 (695 words) Published: March 29, 2012
The Evolution of Orangutans
Orangutans are apes with reddish-brown hair that originated 2 million-100,000 years ago. Orangutans are categorized the Hominidae family, which is commonly known as the Great Apes. Orangutans live in Asia, only found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They are known for their long arms which can reach to a length of 7m, fingertip to fingertip (See Appendix A, Fig.1). There is no real evidence of who the orangutan’s ancestors were. The primate lineage was thought to start 65 million years ago; this began as the Euarchonta which lead to the primates present today(See Appendix A, Fig.2). Primates were divided into two groups called Strepsirrhines, which included lemurs and lories, and Haplorhines, which included tarsiers, monkeys, and apes. After 35 million years, the Haplorhines split into another two groups called Platyrrhini, which included the New World monkeys of South and Central America, and the Catharinni, the Old World monkeys of Africa and Asia, and apes. About 10-15 million years after that, the group split into two superfamillies called Cercopithecoidea which includes Old World monkeys, and Hominoidea, which includes apes. Some researchers say that the orangutan originated from Lufengpithecus, while others say that they originated from Sivapithecus. Lufengpithecus has four species; Lufengpithecus lufengensis, Lufengpithecus hudienensis, Lufengpithecus keiyuanensis and Lufengpithecus chiangmuanensis. Lufengpithecus lufengenis fossil was found in lignite beds at the Shihuiba Locality in Lufeng County, Yunnan, China. It was thought to represent Sivapithecus because of the similarities between the species. The Lufengpithecus chiangmuanensis fossil, that dates back 10-13.5 million years ago, was discovered not long ago in Thailand. Researchers think that the Lufengpithecus chiangmuanensis is the closest to the orangutan because of the shape of its jaw, and because it was found in...
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