Incredible video of orangutan building a hammock

Originally published at: Incredible video of orangutan building a hammock | Boing Boing


I couldn’t get past the cage. :frowning_face:


I wish I could go back in time and show this to my senior year philosophy professor who was pushing his catholic views really hard about how only humans could use tools, understood cause and effect and had souls. I laughed at him in class and told him he was full of shit, with little evidence to support my mocking, but this is truly awesome.


Thank you for acknowledging that! :clap:


Thank you for the shout-out! :smiley:


She’s being held against her will?

She’s adrift and stateless, having had her homeland destroyed by people and capitalism?

She’s there until her captors can figure out a better way, if they are even considering such a idea?

She’s missing her family?

She’s missing her friends?

She’s missing Sir Pterry Pratchett?

She’s existing as a living volume of genome material, holding it in trust for the future of her species?

She’s a reminder that we share ~97% of the same genome?

She’s a stark reminder that we must do better, and be better, and take better care of our precious co-inhabitants on our home planet?



Individually it’s a tragedy and I’d agree kinda inhumane, but as a species also probably a safety net against the real possibility of being poached into extinction in the wild… :frowning:

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I kinda get that; but of all things…does it have to be literally a fucking prison-cell?!? sometimes (well, rather often these days) I really hate to be a member of my species…


kinda inhumane

no, its not. its not even “inhumane”; its cruel as fuck and thats exactly what humans do.


What is that awful noise in the background? Is it some sort of corruption/recording problem, or the poor animals actually have to live like that?


The name “orangutan” (also written orang-utan, orang utan, orangutang, and ourang-outang[1]) is derived from the Malay words orang, meaning “person”, and hutan, meaning “forest”. Orangutan - Wikipedia

They are as close to people as it gets and deserve more respect.


Building nests is a common behavior in primates including orangutans.

It is learned by watching other, older orangutans.

It is considered tool use and a sign of intelligence.

In the wild, it would, in my opinion, take more intelligence than this example. Suitable trees and branch size needs to be selected. Branches are braided together, which would be similar to the knot tying shown here. Additional material is layered on to form the platform, something that is not required because the cloth is the platform and the nest material at the same time.

I am not saying the behavior is not intelligence. If I tried this, the knots would come undone and I would fall on the floor. If I were locked in a cage with the cloth and no one showed me how to make a hammock or suggested to me to make one, it would probably never occur to me. I would probably spread the cloth on the floor or roll it up in a ball as a pillow and sleep on the concrete.

So, those were genuine overhand knots. Was that a learned from humans behavior, or did she come by that on her own? I wasn’t aware of knot-tying among non-humans. (Well, beyond hagfish doing it to themselves.)

And no, I was not contemplating “knot-tying” as a measure of human-ness. I’m hard-pressed to come up with anything sets humans apart from other animals.


Isn’t that a given when it comes to Philosophy Professors?

The name “streetperson” is derived from the English words *street", meaning “street”, and “person”, meaning “person”. They are as close to people as it gets and deserve more respect. Humans can be appalling to pretty much everyone. :sob:


In my experience, most philosophy professors are not full of shit. It’s the Catholic worm that spoils the apple.


During the Middle Ages there was a Catholic concept of the “Great Chain of Being”. There were gradations of “beings” from clams and worms up through lizards and rats, to apes and humans, then angels and arch-angels, thrones, dominions and God.

Humans were above animals but angelic beings were above humans. Because angels existed (to theologians) does not mean humans were the equivalents of clams. Likewise I would expect a reasonably intelligent philosopher during the Middle Ages would recognize an orangutan as being very high up in the chain of being. I grant that they would insist that orangutans had no souls and so were not equal to humans. There are philosophical discussions about mythical “dog headed men” that were believed to exist in far off countries that could speak and had clothing. There were discussions on whether these had souls or not and what it meant to be human.

Meanwhile, there are modern atheists happily cutting up chimpanzees and experimenting on them today.

I am sure the original poster’s teacher was a dim witted jerk but there are more than a billion Catholics today and there were plenty of Catholic philosophers through the ages that I am sure were geniuses with higher IQs than most people alive today. A Thomas Aquinas or John Duns Scotus had more highly developed minds and sensibilities than a random poster on the internet. We should not paint everyone in a group with the same brush.

Excited Lets Go GIF

From the Youtube channel where the video is posted, this:

1,148,510 views Dec 23, 2015
This 14-year-old female Orangutan constructs a hammock all on her own. This is just her night enclosure. For clarification: we are not affiliated with the zoo where this orangutan is kept.
[emphasis added]

So… maybe… this orangutan gets access to the outdoors and daylight, etc.
It is terribly noisy and I can scarcely imagine just how rested I would feel, if I were required to sleep in the ambiance of that night enclosure.

I hear you though.


I read once that if “human” is what we are, then “humane” is that which, being human, we wish we were. So yes, definitely inhumane, but all too human.

@MotoGuzzi I’m curious how long ago that was. I know some people still think this way. I know it’s been Catholic doctrine for…ever, AFAIK. And I know it took decades for primatologists to take Jane Goodall’s observations of chimps seriously (demonstrating how many people don’t think most humans have minds like their own).

I’d also like to know what zoo this was, and where. They vary so widely in how they treat animals.

I have learned more form other species than I did in any level of academic learning. From my PhD research and observation in nature, 30 years of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and combined 50 years working with both domesticated and wild species, I have come to believe that our treatment of other species is based on our understanding of what “Being” means (to exist with a life force). Studies show spiders dream, species without a centralize brain learn, goldfish recognize different human faces, bats have systems for colony “ethical” behavior, crows have intricate family structures and recognizes types of human behaviors, many species mourn the loss of family members…and so much more. Until we can expand our compassion and question our belief of “human superiority” we will continue to abuse other species. We justify our cruelty on the mistaken idea that they are “less than” or “put here for our use”. How we treat other species reflects who WE are as individuals, nations, and as a species. Thanks for reading my take on this. Here is a quote to think about:

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
― Henry Beston, [The Outermost House]