Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway

Date:
July 4, 2012
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Swaying trees is the way to go, if you are a primate crossing the jungle. Using human street athletes as stand-ins for orangutans, researchers have measured the energy required to navigate a forest using different strategies and found it pays to stay up in the trees.

To learn about orangutan behaviour, researchers used human parkour athletes as models for orangutans. They measured the energy required to navigate among trees in different ways, such as jumping between them.
Credit: SRL Coward and LG Halsey

Swaying trees is the way to go, if you are a primate crossing the jungle. Using human street athletes as stand-ins for orangutans, researchers have measured the energy required to navigate a forest using different strategies and found it pays to stay up in the trees.

Their work was presented at the Society for Experimental Biology's meeting in Salzburg, Austria on 2 July 2012.

The findings help us to understand why orangutans spend most of their lives in trees despite being much larger than other tree-dwelling animals. It also helps to explain how these primates get by on their diet of mainly fruit, which does not provide a lot of energy.

Dr Lewis Halsey of the University of Roehampton, who led the study, said: "Energy expenditure could be a key constraint for orangutans -- moving through trees could be energetically expensive."

The team found that the most efficient way to cross from one tree to another is usually to sway back and forth on your tree until you can reach the next one. When trees are stiff, it is more efficient to jump.

For heavy primates the tree must be quite stiff before jumping becomes the easier option. According to Halsey: "Heavier orangutans don't jump, and we may have an explanation why."

To compare the energy required to sway trees, climb trees, or jump from branch to branch, Halsey's team created obstacle courses simulating these activities. But instead of orangutans, the participants were parkour athletes, specially trained street gymnasts with good flexibility and spatial awareness. The athletes wore devices that recorded their oxygen consumption as they proceeded through the activities.

Halsey added: "Because primates are not easy to work with, estimates of energy expenditure have been very indirect. We have gone a step closer to understanding these costs by measuring energy expenditure in a model primate -- the parkour athlete."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124325.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2012, July 4). Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124325.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124325.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins