Myth or fact? Male orangutans believed to be sexually attracted to human females

Although there is no conclusive evidence, it has been a persistent folktale that a male orangutans, a species of great apes native to Indonesia seem to display sexual attraction to human females.

A male orangatun. Picture for representational purpose
A male orangutan. Picture for representational purpose

This myth, which originally began in Sumatra and Borneo has now entered popular culture.

Primatologist Birute Galdikas' 'report' is often cited as anecdotal evidence for this theory. In it Galdikas stated that her cook was apparently a victim of sexual assault perpetrate by an male orangatun.

However, arguments can be made that since the orangatun was raised in relative captivity he may have probably suffered from a skewed species identity. Forced copulation, researchers say, is a standard mating strategy for low-ranking male orangutans.



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