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OrangutansGeographic Variation in Behavioral Ecology and Conservation$
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Serge A. Wich, S Suci Utami Atmoko, Tatang Mitra Setia, and Carel P. van Schaik

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213276.001.0001

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The functional significance of variation in jaw form in orangutans

The functional significance of variation in jaw form in orangutans

The African apes as an ecogeographic model

Chapter:
(p.15) CHAPTER 2 The functional significance of variation in jaw form in orangutans
Source:
Orangutans
Author(s):

Andrea B. Taylor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213276.003.0002

African apes and orangutans experience temporal and spatial fluctuations in fruit availability with similar behavioral consequences. Relying on the African apes as a comparative ecogeographic model, this chapter examines jaw form among Pongo pygmaeus morio, P.p. wurmbii, and P. abelii to determine if these populations differ predictably in ways that reflect their ecological profiles. Pongo p. morio is characterized by the longest lean fruiting periods and relies to the greatest extent on resistant and hard foods. These orangutans are found to exhibit the relatively most robust mandible, and thus display the relatively greatest capacity to counter large and repetitive jaw loads. Pongo abelii, which maintains a fruit-dominated diet even in times of fruit scarcity, displays the relatively least robust mandible. Orangutans are further shown to display a relationship between variance in energy intake, feeding efficacy, and relative brain size, suggesting a link among morphological divergence, behavioral ecology, and life history.

Keywords:   orangutans, African apes, jaw form, mandible, fruit availability, resistant foods, hard foods, energy, brain size, life history

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