Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Welcome To The Digital Age Of Dating Where Even Monkeys Can Find Love Online

Welcome To The Digital Age Of Dating Where Even Monkeys Can Find Love Online

The Debrief: Yes, that's Tinder for orangutans...

As part of a four-year experiment, dubbed ‘Tinder for Orangutans’, Dutch scientists are showing female orangutans pictures of potential partners in an attempt to encourage mating.

At first this seems slightly odd. Are monkeys ready to start swiping left and right? 

Well, they might need to. Orangutans, are not only a critically endangered species, but have an extremely low reproductive rate - something which the study hopes to improve. Currently male orangutans are flown in to the Appenheul zoo from destinations as far away as Singapore, an undoubtedly expensive and arduous process. What’s worse is that these transfers are often unsuccessful. Talking to Dutch broadcaster NOS, Thomas Bionda, one of the biologists behind the study, said “the animals have to be taken back to the zoo they came from without mating. Things don’t always go well when a female and male first meet.”

Tinder for Orangutans hopes to prevent this by presenting the female orangutans with a selection of mates and allowing them to pick their fave before flying them in for the big date. Seems fair enough. The researchers hope that this will give them a greater insight into how female orangutans choose their mates. 

Still, researchers aren’t entirely convinced that this method of matching will prove successful. Whilst we’re shallow enough to immediately fall-head-over-heels based on looks alone, is appearance enough to spark an orangutan’s passion?  As Bionda says, “This is completely digital, of course. Usually, smell plays an important role too. But with the orangutans, it will be what you see is what you get.”

However, one major hiccough has put the experiment on hold. An orangutan, affectionately known as Demolition Woman, keeps destroying the tablets. Even one tablet, which was reinforced with a steel frame, only lasted two weeks before coming to an untimely end. Bionda said “we have strengthened the unit, but to no avail.”

The search continues for an orangutan-proof touchscreen.

Like this? Then you might be interested in...

Meet Our Earliest Known Ancestor

Scientists Discover Why We Get Wrinkly Hands In The Bath

What Does Your Phone Bacteria Say About You? (GROSS)

Follow Lucie on Instagram

Tags: Science Says