Orangutans are like free-runners

No doubt orangutans move around in a very different way to humans, but when it comes to climbing or jumping, people adopt some of the similar methods as their great ape cousins, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and the University of Roehampton claim that orangutans are actually the free-runners of the animal kingdom.

They came to the conclusion after analysing the techniques used by humans engaged in the sport of parkour or free-running, in which participants leap and grip to make their way around a city environment.

The researchers found that many of their moves naturally mimic those used by orangutans to travel through the treetops in their tropical forest habitat, using the momentum created by their bodies to help them, The Sunday Telegraph reported. In fact, in their study, the researchers asked 20 free-runners to vault, climb and jump over obstacles using as little energy as they could, while having their oxygen consumption measured. Their aim was to estimate how much energy apes use while getting around in the wild.

They found the ways in which the athletes swung across gaps, used walls to gain height and moved over obstacles using all four limbs were all similar to orangutan movements.

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