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An orangutan holds on the branch of a tree before being rescued and relocated from at a swath of destructed forest in Indonesia. Photo: Binsar Bakkara / AP

A new, isolated species of orangutan has been found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra nearly a century after being originally reported, growing our great ape family by one. The new species was described Thursday in Current Biology.

Population analyses of the species (Pongo tapanuliensis) "suggest there are fewer than 800 individuals, making it the most endangered of the great apes," writes April Reese for Nature. And, a proposed dam on the Batang Toru river would divide the population into two areas, which could endanger them further. The New York Times reports the Tapanuli's lineage is 3-3.5 million years old.

""It would be bitterly ironic if it goes extinct as a biologically viable population just as it is described as a new species," orangutan researcher Biruté Mary Galdikas told Nature.

The discovery: Erik Meijaard, founder of conservation group Borneo Futures in Jakarta, first discovered reports of an isolated orangutan population, prompting a search. It wasn't until 2013, however, that scientists found solid evidence, when locals killed one of the males. According to Australia's public broadcaster, ABC, the male's "skull was smaller, its face flatter and its canine teeth wider than those from Sumatran and Bornean orangutans."

The context: Finding a new mammal species is rare, and a new primate species is even more unlikely. Great apes are our closest relatives, but we still have much to learn about them and how they evolved.

Go deeper

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday, via Axios night owl Hans Nichols:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.

Trump, your 2024 GOP nominee

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Former President Trump is telling most anyone who'll listen he will run again in 2024 — and poll after poll shows the vast majority of Republicans would gladly cheer him on and vote for him. 

Why it matters: Trump is the heart, soul and undisputed leader of the Republican Party and will easily win the nomination if he wants it, the polls make unmistakably clear.