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Tinder for Orangutans Lets Female Apes Choose Who They Have Sex With

Researchers hope the method might increase the chance two apes hit it off when they meet, rather than flying one out from a different zoo just to get rejected.
Photo via Flickr user JohnBWilson

Humans may have descended from apes, but now a few apes are taking a page from the human playbook by turning to a Tinder-like app to choose their mates, the Guardian reports.

Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands launched a study at Apenheul primate park giving female orangutans a tablet with pictures of potential mates to see if looks alone can influence their sexual preferences. By having the ape select a mate before meeting him, researchers hope it might increase the chance the two hit it off in person, rather than flying a guy out from a different zoo in Singapore just to get rejected.

"This is completely digital, of course," Thomas Bionda, a behavioral scientists at the zoo, told NOS. "Usually, smell plays an important role too. But with the orangutans, it will be what you see is what you get."

Apparently all the lady orangutans have to do is just pick someone attractive and then the mate arrives at their door without any fuss or dating, giving an entirely new meaning to the phrase "monkey see, monkey do." The whole thing sounds way more like monkey Grindr than monkey Tinder, but whatever.

Leiden University has also been doing this research on endangered bonobos and found that members of the species are actually reacting to the body language they see in the photos. They react most positively when they see another bonobo removing lice from the hair of a partner or engaging in sexual activity. No word yet on how they feel about users posing with elephants, though.

The study was going well until one orangutan, nicknamed Demolition Woman, smashed the specialty steel-reinforced tablet the apes were using to flip through potential mates, but honestly, who can blame her, really?