Creepy Fact: Orangutans Can Use 'Hitmen'

The animal kingdom is known for its rampant and ceaseless violence. Creatures eat each other, creatures get eaten, creatures attack vulnerable young calves and wounded older animals, creatures fight over mates and suffer fatal blows, and so on. But usually there's nothing "calculated" about this violence; it's just animals giving in to their natural survival impulses and doing what they need to do. Only now, those survival impulses include hiring other members of their species to take out animals that they don't like, right out of an extremely dark Jungle Book scene.

Betty Wills, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 4.0Oh, oobee doo, I wanna murder you

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Researchers in Indonesia have recently observed the first known example of orangutans recruiting other orangutans to kill unwanted orangutans. In this case, a female coordinated with a male to help corner and then kill another female. The two females had a "bad history" with one another, and though another male tried to intervene toward the end of the fight, the cornered female died from her injuries a few weeks later.

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What makes this even more bizarre is that before this incident, between the years 2003 and 2014, there were only six recorded female-on-female attacks, and none of the combatants had even come close to delivering fatal wounds. If this trend continues, we can't be too far away from a mysterious femme fatale orangutan with a long cigarette climbing onto another orangutan's desk, grabbing its tie, and saying, "I need you to do me a favor ... we all know accidents happen ..."

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Orangutans are still adorable as plushies. Go to your local zoo and learn about them all you can!

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