People of the Forest (Orangutan)

Order: PrimatesMale Orangutan
Family: Pongidae
Genus species: Pongo pygmaeus (Borneo) and Pongo abelii (Sumatra)

Feeding Ecology

Feeding ecology is used here to describe the interaction between orangutan feeding behavior and the ecological environment from which they derive nutrients. By studying feeding ecology we can learn more about why orangutans exibit certain feeding behaviors as well as the conditions necessary to conserve these threatened apes in the face of environmental destruction.

This site has information about the following questions:

1) How has the evolution of the orangutan lineage shaped orangutan feeding ecology?(Phylogeny)
2) What contributes to the development of feeding behaviors in various Orangutan populations?(Ontogeny)
3) What determines the foods orangutans choose to consume and their eating behavior?(Mechanism)
4) How have orangutans adapted to differences in available food sources?(Adaptive Value)

Distribution and TaxonomyDistribution Map

Orangutans are taonomically divided into two species: Pongo pygmaeus (Borneo) and Pongo abelii (Sumatra). Within Pongo Pygmaeus three subspecies have evolved in three geographically distinct regions of Borneo: Pongo pygmaeus morio (Eastern Borneo), Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii (Southwest Borneo), and Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus (Northwest Borneo). More information on the causes of divergence can be found on the adaptive value section.


The word orangutan originates from the Indonesian "orang hutan," which is translated as "the people (orang) of the forest (hutan)."