Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Primatology Books to Welcome the Newest Orangutans!

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Aimee Miles

Staff Writer

Aimee Miles is a newly-minted librarian, mother to two small children, and former grand champion goat showman. She has collected two citizenships, three different driver’s licenses, and approximately 300 dearly loved books. Sadly, she currently has zero goats. You can see her quiet Twitter at Icanread4Miles and her blog on children's books at

Congratulations! It’s a…new species of orangutan!

First I’d just like to say welcome to the family, pongo tapanuliensis. We’re kind of a hominid hot mess (especially the hominin wing of the family). But we’re glad to meet you before you go extinct!

For those of you not keeping your finger on the primatology pulse,  scientists recently concluded that the orangutans living in the Batang Tau forests of Northern Sumatra are a genetically separate species from other known orangutans.

The Tapanuli join the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans as the three orangutan species. This increases our hominid family to include 8 living species, including humans.

Sadly, the Tapanuli are also the most endangered hominid with approximately 800 individuals in the wild.

In honor of our newest orangutan relatives, here are several books on primatology to get you reading!

As the book list below suggests, this is a REALLY woman-heavy field. It’s called the Jane Goodall effect. Primatology graduates are about 80% women, nearly all white.

Also, readers, consider reducing your palm oil use; Nutella is contributing to orangutan habitat loss. Sorry, it’s not all fun news here today.


In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall

The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Frans de Waal

Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo by Birute Galdikas

Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey

Beauty and the Beasts: Woman, Ape, and Evolution by Carole Jahme

Of Bonobos and Men: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo by Deni Ellis Bechard

Gorillas Among Us: A Primate Ethnographer’s Book of Days by Dawn Prince-Hughes

Primates by Jim Ottaviani

Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer