Did you know:
Some orangutans breastfeed their babies for over 8 years 🙉
It's not easy to observe an orangutans 🦧 nursing it's baby. Most of the time they are hiding in trees 🌴 or nurse at night.
So how do biologists 👨🔬 🧑🏫 know how long and how often orangutan mothers breastfeed their babies?
Well there is another way ...
That is via their "teeth" 🦷 ... Wait what?! Yes mama, that's correct their "teeth"!
Researchers found that orangutans 🦧 breastfeed for even longer than the 6️⃣ to 7️⃣ year nursing period when they're in the wild, some breastfeed for over 8️⃣ years using the milk cyclically to supplement a baby orangutan’s diet of fruits and insects.
Researchers were analyzing orangutan teeth (molars in particular) from museum collections, looking for chemical signs of breastfeeding.
When a mammal is breastfeeding, some of the calcium that goes into their milk comes from her skeleton. Calcium is very similar, chemically, to another element found in bodies barium.
When a baby 👶 drinks the calcium-laden🥛 milk from their mother, some of the barium is along for the ride.