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Cardiff researchers find new species of Orangutan

A Sumatran Orangutan. Credit: Junaidi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

An international team, including researchers from Cardiff University, has discovered a new orangutan species in Indonesia.

Pongo Tapanuliensis, otherwise known as the Tapanuli Orangutan, was found in the three Tapanuli districts of North Sumatra after analysis of the ape inhabitants of the Batang Toru Ecosystem.

The Batang Toru populations of orangutans in Sumatra were only rediscovered fairly recently in 1997. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the researchers received the skeleton of an adult male orangutan that was killed during conflict, and we realised that there were significant physical and genetic differences in these apes.

By comparing the skull to other orangutans, it was clear that this skull showed dramatic differences. This suggested that the Batang Toru population was potentially unique, so our international team of researchers worked together to gather further evidence

– Dr Benoit Goossens, Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences



'Backpacks' for bees being developed at Bangor

Credit: Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/PA Images

Lightweight bee “backpacks,” powered by the insects’ own electrical energy, are being developed at Bangor university so scientists can track and study them.

An ecologist and a microsystems engineer are working together to develop micro-backpacks for bees that will enable the bees to be followed by small drones as they fly from plant to plant.

It is hoped scientists will learn more about where the bees collect nectar and what might be affecting their numbers.

Existing bee monitoring devices face limits due to their weight, range, and how long their power source lasts- and these are the problems that we’ve set out to resolve using cutting-edge micro-technology.

We have proven our ability to harvest the bee’s electrical energy to enable us to do away with the need for a battery and our end product will weigh only a third of the bee’s body weight, or less than a raindrop. This solves the weight and battery longevity problems.

Our next step is to develop a mobile receiver to track and follow the bee’s transmitted signal as it forages.

– Dr Cristiano Palego, Bangor University
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