Humans mimic their closest kin orang-utans to gain momentum when it comes to climbing and jumping, shows a new research.
Thought to be huge and remotely acrobatic, as compared to humans who are lithe on their feet, orang-utans use the same basics in climbing and jumping as humans do, the research by biologists at the universities of Birmingham and Roehampton concludes.
Free runners mimic moves used by orang-utans to travel through the treetops in their tropical forest habitat, using the momentum created by their bodies to help them.
Biologists at the Universities of Birmingham and Roehampton asked a group of free-runners to vault, climb and jump over obstacles using as little energy as they could, while having their oxygen consumption measured, the Telegraph reports.
Their aim was to estimate how much energy apes use while getting around in the wild, according to a Birmingham statement.
The scientists found that 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 orang-utan movements.
“Free runners try to move as efficiently and as smoothly as possible through their environment,” said study co-author Susannah Thorpe, senior lecturer in bio-mechanics at the University of Birmingham.
“This is exactly what orang-utans are trying to do when they are moving around in the forest. It is a complex environment with gaps in the canopy, branches and some open spaces, so they have to move through this using as little energy as possible to get between food sources.
“When moving along a beam that mimics a branch, the free-runners use all four limbs to support themselves and we see this with orang-utans in the wild. The way they climb is also very similar,” concluded Thorpe.