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  • Fu Manchu was one of the most notorious escape artists

  • at the Omaha Zoo in the 1960s.

  • But he wasn't a performer,

  • he was an orangutan.

  • The keepers who locked his enclosure every night

  • were baffled to find him outside the next day

  • hanging out with friends in a tree,

  • or sunning on the roof.

  • Only after installing cameras did they realize

  • Fu Manchu had been picking the lock

  • with a metal wire that he kept hidden under his cheek pouch.

  • The keepers shouldn't have been surprised at Fu Manchu's cunningness.

  • Along with our other great ape cousins,

  • the gorillas,

  • chimps,

  • and bonobos,

  • they belong to our Hominidae family tree,

  • which stretches back 14 million years.

  • But it's not just their striking red hair

  • that makes orangutans unique among our cousins.

  • As the only great apes from Asia,

  • orangutans have adapted to a life high in the rain forest canopies.

  • Many of the skills they learn are transmitted through the special bond

  • they have with their mothers,

  • the most extended in the animal kingdom next to humans.

  • Orangutan mothers usually give birth to one baby at a time,

  • waiting up to eight years before having another.

  • This gives the young,

  • who begin as fully dependent infants,

  • plenty of time to learn how to climb

  • and distinguish the hundreds of plants and fruits that make up their diet.

  • Female orangutans even stay with their mothers into their teen years

  • to learn child-rearing.

  • As they grow up, orangutans also develop a complex set of cooperative social skills

  • by interacting with their peers and siblings.

  • Much like ourselves,

  • young orangutans involuntarily mimic the facial expressions

  • and emotions of their playmates,

  • with behaviors that closely parallel human smiling and laughter.

  • Once they finally venture out on their own,

  • orangutans continue to develop their resourcefulness,

  • putting the skills they've learned into practice.

  • Adults build a new nest each night by carefully weaving twigs together,

  • topping them with soft leaves, pillows, and blankets.

  • This process requires dexterity, coordination, and an eye for design.

  • Orangutans also use a variety of tools to make their lives in the jungle easier.

  • They turn branches into fly swatters and back scratchers,

  • construct umbrellas when it rains,

  • make gloves from leafy pads,

  • and even use leaves as bandages to dress their wounds.

  • But orangutan intelligence goes far beyond jungle survival.

  • Research in controlled environments has shown that orangutans are self-aware,

  • being one of the few species to recognize their own reflections.

  • They also display remarkable foresight, planning, and cognition.

  • In one experiment, researchers taught an orangutan to use a straw

  • to extract his favorite fruit soup from a box.

  • That orangutan was later given the choice between the straw

  • or a grape that could be eaten right away,

  • and he chose the straw just in case he was given another box of soup.

  • In another experiment, orangutans figured out how to reach peanuts

  • at the bottom of long tubes by spitting water into them.

  • While orangutans are able to pass cognitive tests with flying colors,

  • there are certain problems that they need our help to solve.

  • Indonesia has the world's highest rate of deforestation,

  • and millions of acres of rain forest are burned annually

  • to support the logging and palm oil industries.

  • Deforestation exposes the 30,000 orangutans remaining in the wild

  • to poachers.

  • They kill mothers so that baby orangutans can be sold as exotic pets.

  • But fortunately, the story often doesn't end here.

  • Orphans can be confiscated and given a second chance.

  • At special forest schools, they recover from emotional trauma

  • and continue to develop essential life skills.

  • Against all odds, these orphans demonstrate incredible resilience

  • and readiness to learn.

  • In Malay, the word orangutan translates literally to "the person of the forest,"

  • a reminder of our common lineage.

  • And despite orangutans being some of the smartest animals on Earth,

  • outsmarting their extinction requires the creativity, empathy, and foresight

  • that our species share.

Fu Manchu was one of the most notorious escape artists

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B2 中上級

TED-ED】オランウータンはどれくらい賢いのか?- ルー・ガオ (【TED-Ed】How smart are orangutans? - Lu Gao)

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    沙渺 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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