How And Which Male Orangutans Develop Cheekpads

No. Only the most dominant male orangutans bear large fleshy cheekpads, or flanges – most look similar to females. Flanged males are particularly attractive to females  and father more than their fair share of offspring. This raises the question of why more males don’t adopt the flanged look.

Male orangutans bearing cheekpads (flanges) are more appealing to the opposite sex
Male orangutans bearing cheekpads (flanges) are more appealing to the opposite sex

The answer may be that they avoid the risks associated with dominance, such as potentially lethal fights. Lowlier, flangeless males seem to adopt a more passive, sit-and-wait strategy. They are particularly successful before and after a regime change, when older dominant males are past their best or when young pretenders are trying to assert their position at the top of the hierarchy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You Might Like:

From Our Network: