Orangutans Show Engineering Skill When Building Nests
Orangutans show remarkably advanced engineering skills when making nests, said researchers following and filming the apes in the forests of Sumatra. The study, published in the journal PNAS, reveals that the apes select thick branches for a scaffold and thinner branches for a springy mattress. Roland Ennos from the University of Manchester, a senior member of the research team, told BBC Nature that the behavior revealed the animals’ “sophisticated tool use and construction skills.”
As anyone who has ever tried to snap a live twig from a tree will know, living, green branches do not snap cleanly in half. Dr Ennos explained that the animals “made use” of this, bending and weaving large, flexible branches into a strong nest scaffold. The animals then filled this scaffold with fine, leafy branches – making a comfortable bed.