5 June 2012 - Santa Monica, CA.  The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF), a Santa Monica-based conservation education nonprofit that supports the survival of wild orangutans in Indonesia, announced the recipient of its Lorraine P. Jenkins Memorial Fellowship program for 2012. For his study on the role of orangutan cheek pads in sexual selection and reproductive success, the fellowship is presented to Graham L. Banes, a doctoral graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

grahamprincessHis project aims to genetically quantify the role of cheek pads, the fleshy flanges found only on adult male orangutans, on orangutan reproductive success by deterimining the extent to which the flanged males sire offspring relative to sub-adult males. The function of cheek pads has been hypothesized to be of benefit to the adult male in giving them greater access to ovulating females. Graham's work in looking at paternity of both cheek padded and sub-adult males will provide scientific evidence in supporting or rejecting the hypothesis.

LP Jenkins Fellowship recipients receive a $1,000 grant to enable them to conduct or complete their field research on topics ranging from orangutan behavior to rainforest ecology as it pertains to orangutans and other species. For more information, visit www.orangutanrepublik.org/programs/education-initiatives/lp-jenkins-memorial-fellowship.