A study has shown that migrating male orangutans learn about the unfamiliar foods of their new place of residence spying on the inhabitants of that area.
“Our results suggest that migrant males not only learn from locals where to find food and what to eatbut also continue to learn how to process these new foods,” explained Julia MörchenPhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the University of Leipzig (Germany) and lead author of the study.
Mörchen, together with other international researchers, has shown that migrating males learn this information through a behavior called “peering”consisting of observe intensely for at least five seconds and from less than two meters at a role model. Typically, orangutans closely observing the model showed signs of following its actions with head movements, indicating attentive interest.
Orangutans depend on their mothers for longer than any other non-human animal, nurse them until they are at least six years old and live with them for up to three more years, learning to find, choose and process the vast array of foods they eat. After this process, they are the males what move to other areas to become independentwhile females tend to settle near their natal area.
“Which We still don’t know how far orangutan males disperse, or where. But it is possible to make educated guesses: genetic data and observations of orangutans crossing physical barriers such as rivers and mountains suggest long-distance dispersal, probably tens of kilometres,” says Mörchen.