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 September 2, 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 September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. 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