A primate (i/ˈpraɪmeɪt/PRY-mayt) is a mammal of the orderPrimates (i/praɪˈmeɪtiːz/pry-MAY-teez; Latin: "prime, first rank"), which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment. All but a few primate species remain at least partly arboreal.
The orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extantgreat apes. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Classified in the genusPongo, orangutans were considered to be one species. However, since 1996, they have been divided into two species: the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus) and the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii). In addition, the Bornean species is divided into three subspecies. The orangutans are also the only surviving species of the subfamily Ponginae, which also included several other species, such as Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate. Both species had their genomes sequenced and they appear to have diverged around 400,000 years ago. Orangutans diverged from the rest of the great apes 15.7 to 19.3 million years ago (mya).
Orangutans are the most arboreal of the great apes and spend most of their time in trees. Their hair is typically reddish-brown, instead of the brown or black hair typical of chimpanzees and gorillas. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Dominant adult males have distinctive cheek pads and produce long calls that attract females and intimidate rivals. Younger males do not have these characteristics and resemble adult females. Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes, with social bonds occurring primarily between mothers and their dependent offspring, who stay together for the first two years. Fruit is the most important component of an orangutan's diet, however, the apes will also eat vegetation, bark, honey, insects and even bird eggs. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity.