Last update: June 3rd, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Today’s Image of the Day shows a female orangutan proving that she’s just as skilled a carpenter or handyman as any male – including the human ones! The beautiful ape is seen casually using a saw to cut a branch on her own.
The clip comes courtesy of the new BBC series Spy in the Wild, which documents wildlife in candid moments using cameras disguised as lifelike robot animals. This particular footage captured orangutans in their native region of Borneo.
The female orangutan uses her right hand to grip the saw and uses her feet to hold it in place against the instrument. She learned the skill from watching human builders in the area. Once she’s done sawing, she even blows away the dust to check the precision of her work.
As she works, the female orangutan sees the robot ape sit down across from her and begin to perform the same task. The robot seems so lifelike that instead of doubting its authenticity, the real orangutan becomes competitive and begins sawing harder.
“No one suspected that any fully wild orangutan knew the technique but this one suddenly picked up a saw and used it,” said a spokesman the show. “Spy Orangutan had been programmed to saw, too, and when the real orangutan spotted her sawing, it seemed to spur her on.”
Orangutans share 97% of their DNA with humans, and are well known for their high level of intelligence. They specialize in using complex tools to gather food, and even build their own makeshift beds to sleep in at night.
Producer Matt Gordon worked on the series alongside orangutan specialist Dr. Biruté Galdikas. The team also got to see orangutans using soap to wash their bodies, a skill they learned over 40 years ago after watching local people bathe in a river.
By: Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer
Image: John Downer Productions/BBC/Steve Downer