Sizing Up The Relatives
Orangutans (Pongo) are one of two Asian apes. Do you know the other one?
So Apes Don't Have Tails?
Ever wonder what makes an ape an ape or a monkey a monkey? Well, if you have, you are in for a real treat in the coming years. Researchers around the world are working to sequence the entire genomes of various primates to address that exact question.
- Orangutan Genome Finished from AMNH http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovr1J83KkSo
- Orangutan Genomes at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKJqnZKnIzA
Use the resources below to answer the following questions:
- What are researchers hoping to learn about humans by looking at the genomes of other primates?
- What is the main difference they found between humans and orangutans? How does this difference affect the functioning of genes? How do you think this could affect species over time?
- Are you surprised that the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) genome is closer to the human genome than the orangutan genome? Why or why not? Think carefully and be as specific in your reasons as you can.
- How will knowledge of the orangutan genome benefit efforts to save the two endangered species of orangutan?