Nuffnang Space

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I am thrilled that Evolution is the word Donna has assigned us for Word for Wednesday. My take on this is a light hearted observation of the Theory of  Evolution. If Darwin was right, we evolved in this fashion:

Let us study the great apes and compare their habits to ours. I had the privilege of  seeing for myself the way these primates behave when I visited the Semenggok Orang Utan Sanctuary in Sarawak, and have learned a little bit about their habits.  Both my observations as well as reports from studies made, are brought into this little commentary on evolution. I would like to point out some remarkable similarities these primates have with the habits of homo sapiens, which might lend a clue as to how we have evolved from them.

The Orang Utan (meaning Man of the Jungle in the Malay language) is said to be a close relative of humans, and is very intelligent. In the sanctuary, they live in their natural habitat, and although the rangers provide them with two meals a day, they have the choice to come out to the fringe of the reserve to have breakfast, or not. The mothers with baby in tow came out in full force, that particular day. Then the teens made an appearance. Nowhere to be seen was the alpha male.We assumed he was still in bed, waiting for breakfast to be served. 

Look who came for breakfast...

Similarity  #1
These primates are very selective of the location of their  nest. They prefer to build their nest in the highest branches they can reach.
We also prefer to build our homes on hill-tops, mountain-tops and people are prepared to pay  a high premium on these locations. Just think of celebrities living in the hills of Monaco. We are also willing to pay very high prices for penthouse property in the tallest condominiums we can find. This must say something about the origin of our species.

Evolution point:  Where Orangutans never take over any abandoned nest, but always build new ones when they move, evolution has us buying over old property at a higher price when we relocate. Seems to me the primates knew better.
Evolution point : Orangutans spend 90% of their time in the treetops of their rainforest home, but we leave our homes for work early in the morning and come home late at night. They seem to know how to enjoy their highrise residence, while we are seldom at home to enjoy the comforts of home. Have we evolved for the better?

See that penthouse up there?

Similarity #2
Orangutan mothers care for their young for 2 years. Female Orangutans breed every 8 years or so, and in their lifetime, they have 3 or 4 babies. Mothers cradle and rock their babies, and teach them living skills. In the Semenggok Wildlife sanctuary, these mothers are referred to as Hot Mamas as they are fiercely protective of their young. We were instructed to keep our distance and not exhibit what could be misconstrued as aggressive behaviour when the Hot Mamas are around. Camera tripods and umbrellas might be seen as weapons, so we were told not to use them. The day before our visit, a man had been injured by an orangutan, so the ranger gave strict instructions to us. The final instruction had us a bit apprehensive, when the ranger warned us to listen for directives from them. He said, "When we say 'Run!', you run!!!" Oh-oh... I must say that it was an exciting visit.

Hot Mama 1

Hot Mama 2

Precious baby

Another precious young 'un in tow.

Evolution point: We human mums look after our young for a little longer, from birth, through their teens, and we continue to support them...right up to the last level of their education!(Might take about 25 years if they do not opt to do a PhD)

Similarity #3
Couch potato habits
The Orangutans have been observed to use very little energy. They are sloth-like in the jungle.
This pose was kept up for at least 15 minutes before they slowly moved on!

Sounds familiar? What do we do when we get home? Look for the remote and park ourselves on the couch, trying to utilize as little movement as possible!
Evolution point: Oh, yes, we have evolved so much more today...haven't we?

Cinquain for Poetry Picnic, Week 10

home to primates
feel warm and secure here
may both the strong and weak survive

Haiku Heights #91

soak in the lessons
 our forefathers bequeathed us
sponge absorbs, retains 

For Sensational Haiku Wednesday

her looks may scare us
gentle mother with a mask
she protects her young

Linking to:


  1. amazing and resourceful.

    Thanks for the showcase of evolution.
    your poem is profound.

  2. I really liked your observations and comparisons. Orangutans always struck me as intelligent by watching nature shows. In the zoo they rarely move it seems. The babies are so precious and momma looks like she meant business. You got some very wonderful and expressive photos. Thank you for a close up look that I would have never been able to see myself and also thanks for joining in. Love the poem too!

  3. Some of us aren't very adept at soaking in those lessons!

    Sponging up the river

  4. Yeah, good post! Although there's a bloke in my pub that looks a bit like an Orangutan, I wouldn't like to think I was descended from them. Cool observation and research non the less!!

  5. An uncanny comparison Grace! It appears to jive nicely with modern living. Those photos are great! Excellent haiku and all the other verses.


  6. lovely shots!

    i love those creatures, so thanks for sharingg.

    have great day!

  7. What precious adorable shots!