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Island orangs descend from small group

Bornean apes went through a genetic bottleneck during ancient glaciation

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4:17pm, November 22, 2010

Orangutans on the island of Borneo descend from a relatively small number of ancestors who apparently squeezed through a rough patch about 176,000 years ago, according to the broadest genetic analysis to date of their species.

The genetic data suggest an ancient population bottleneck , says anthropological geneticist Natasha Arora of the University of Zurich, in which animal numbers shrink but eventually expand again when conditions improve.

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