+

Orangutans are pretty amazing animals. They’re one of the few great apes alive today and among humankind's closest cousins. But we may not have realized just how amazing they are until now.

The discovery started with a scene out of something like "CSI." Raya, an older adult male orangutan, had been killed by humans back in 2013. Researchers knew Raya had come from an unusual population of orangutans and had preserved his skeleton for study. And as they pored over the remains, a couple of weird things started to stick out.

"We were surprised that the skull was quite different in some characteristics from anything we had seen before," said Matt Nowak, an anthropologist. The teeth looked different too.


[rebelmouse-image 19529925 dam="1" original_size="750x499" caption="Hey there, big fella. Photo by Maxime Aliaga/University of Zurich." expand=1]Hey there, big fella. Photo by Maxime Aliaga/University of Zurich.

Before he became an evolutionary puzzle, Raya had come from a rugged, mountainous, and thickly forested area known as Batang Toru.

Batang Toru is far south of anywhere else orangutans are found in Sumatra. The apes that live there are cut off from any other population of their kind. Isolated populations often evolve in unique and interesting ways, which hinted to scientists that the Batang Toru apes were special.

Armed with Raya's unique skull and teeth, the Indonesian scientists reached out to colleagues who'd done a previous genetic study.

"It was then that all the pieces fell in place," Nowak says.

The Batang Toru apes weren't just special. They were a unique species.

In honor of the Malaysian district the apes were found in, the new species has been given the scientific name Pongo tapanuliensis.

Before this, we’d known of two orangutan species. One on the island of Sumatra and one in Borneo, with Sumatran orangutans having thinner faces, longer beards, and a tendency to use more tools. But we now know there aren't two orangutan species out there — there are three.

The genetic analysis also showed that the Batang Toru apes weren't just a new species but may also represent an ancient genetic lineage that stretches back to the first orangutans to arrive on Sumatra eons ago.

[rebelmouse-image 19529926 dam="1" original_size="750x499" caption="The new species of ape. Photo by Tim Laman/University of Zurich." expand=1]The new species of ape. Photo by Tim Laman/University of Zurich.

But even as the world gets to know this new species of great ape, its future is already uncertain.

The entire species might only include about 800 living animals, according to a survey. In fact, primates all around the world are facing increasingly tough odds — as many as three-quarters of all primate species are in decline.

The good news is that we already know several ways to help out this new species. Like all orangutans, the Batang Toru apes need large, healthy forests to survive, which means protecting their habitat from deforestation is critical. The World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC, and International Animal Rescue also help governments crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade, which can affect orangutans. They even rescue infants that were sold as pets.

It's hard to look into a great ape's eyes and not see a little of ourselves reflected back at us.

The discovery of a whole new species of human cousin should be an incredible moment of joy. But it should also a rallying cry for better, stronger conservation efforts to make sure these animals stay around a long, long time.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Boss switches company to a four-day workweek with no pay cut and productivity stayed the same

Staff is 'loving it' and there's 'no way' the company is going back.

Co-workers high five because they have Friday off.

There are a lot of great benefits to companies adopting the four-day workweek. Studies show it can help employees, the bottom line and the environment. That’s why companies across the globe have been flirting with the idea to see if they can pull it off without jeopardizing productivity.

One of the most significant benefits of switching to the four-day workweek is that it increases the availability of talent because more people want to work for companies that give them a 72-hour weekend.

Companies with four-day workweeks often don’t see a loss in productivity because there is a tipping point where as employees work more hours, their productivity decreases because they suffer from burnout.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Keep ReadingShow less