Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species
Authors: Nater, Alexander
Mattle-Greminger, Maja P.
Nurcahyo, Anton
Nowak, Matthew G.
de Manuel, Marc
Desai, Tariq
Groves, Colin
Pybus, Marc
Sonay, Tugce Bilgin
Roos, Christian
Lameira, Adriano R.
Wich, Serge A.
Askew, James
Davila-Ross, Marina
Fredriksson, Gabriella
de Valles, Guillem
Casals, Ferran
Prado-Martinez, Javier
Goossens, Benoit
Verschoor, Ernst J.
Warren, Kristin S.
Singleton, Ian
Marques, David A.
Pamungkas, Joko
Perwitasari-Farajallah, Dyah
Rianti, Puji
Tuuga, Augustine
Gut, Ivo G.
Gut, Marta
Orozco-terWengel, Pablo
van Schaik, Carel P.
Bertranpetit, Jaume
Anisimova, Maria
Scally, Aylwyn
Marques-Bonet, Tomas
Meijaard, Erik
Krützen, Michael
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.047
Published in: Current Biology
Volume(Issue): 27
Issue: 22
Page(s): 3487
Pages to: 3498.e10
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Cell Press
ISSN: 0960-9822
Language: English
Subjects: Pongo tapanuliensis; Sundaland; Tapanuli orangutan; Conservation; Gene flow; Great apes; Morphometrics; Phylogeography; Population genomics; Taxonomy
Subject (DDC): 572: Biochemistry
590: Animals (Zoology)
Abstract: Six extant species of non-human great apes are currently recognized: Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, eastern and western gorillas, and chimpanzees and bonobos. However, large gaps remain in our knowledge of fine-scale variation in hominoid morphology, behavior, and genetics, and aspects of great ape taxonomy remain in flux. This is particularly true for orangutans (genus: Pongo), the only Asian great apes and phylogenetically our most distant relatives among extant hominids. Designation of Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, P. pygmaeus (Linnaeus 1760) and P. abelii (Lesson 1827), as distinct species occurred in 2001. Here, we show that an isolated population from Batang Toru, at the southernmost range limit of extant Sumatran orangutans south of Lake Toba, is distinct from other northern Sumatran and Bornean populations. By comparing cranio-mandibular and dental characters of an orangutan killed in a human-animal conflict to those of 33 adult male orangutans of a similar developmental stage, we found consistent differences between the Batang Toru individual and other extant Ponginae. Our analyses of 37 orangutan genomes provided a second line of evidence. Model-based approaches revealed that the deepest split in the evolutionary history of extant orangutans occurred ∼3.38 mya between the Batang Toru population and those to the north of Lake Toba, whereas both currently recognized species separated much later, about 674 kya. Our combined analyses support a new classification of orangutans into three extant species. The new species, Pongo tapanuliensis, encompasses the Batang Toru population, of which fewer than 800 individuals survive.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Computational Life Sciences (ICLS)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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Nater, A., Mattle-Greminger, M. P., Nurcahyo, A., Nowak, M. G., de Manuel, M., Desai, T., Groves, C., Pybus, M., Sonay, T. B., Roos, C., Lameira, A. R., Wich, S. A., Askew, J., Davila-Ross, M., Fredriksson, G., de Valles, G., Casals, F., Prado-Martinez, J., Goossens, B., et al. (2017). Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species. Current Biology, 27(22), 3487–3498.
Nater, A. et al. (2017) ‘Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species’, Current Biology, 27(22), pp. 3487–3498.e10. Available at:
A. Nater et al., “Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species,” Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 22, pp. 3487–3498.e10, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.047.
NATER, Alexander, Maja P. MATTLE-GREMINGER, Anton NURCAHYO, Matthew G. NOWAK, Marc DE MANUEL, Tariq DESAI, Colin GROVES, Marc PYBUS, Tugce Bilgin SONAY, Christian ROOS, Adriano R. LAMEIRA, Serge A. WICH, James ASKEW, Marina DAVILA-ROSS, Gabriella FREDRIKSSON, Guillem DE VALLES, Ferran CASALS, Javier PRADO-MARTINEZ, Benoit GOOSSENS, Ernst J. VERSCHOOR, Kristin S. WARREN, Ian SINGLETON, David A. MARQUES, Joko PAMUNGKAS, Dyah PERWITASARI-FARAJALLAH, Puji RIANTI, Augustine TUUGA, Ivo G. GUT, Marta GUT, Pablo OROZCO-TERWENGEL, Carel P. VAN SCHAIK, Jaume BERTRANPETIT, Maria ANISIMOVA, Aylwyn SCALLY, Tomas MARQUES-BONET, Erik MEIJAARD und Michael KRÜTZEN, 2017. Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species. Current Biology. 2017. Bd. 27, Nr. 22, S. 3487–3498.e10. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.047
Nater, Alexander, Maja P. Mattle-Greminger, Anton Nurcahyo, Matthew G. Nowak, Marc de Manuel, Tariq Desai, Colin Groves, et al. 2017. “Morphometric, Behavioral, and Genomic Evidence for a New Orangutan Species.” Current Biology 27 (22): 3487–98.
Nater, Alexander, et al. “Morphometric, Behavioral, and Genomic Evidence for a New Orangutan Species.” Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 22, 2017, pp. 3487–98,

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