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About Think Tank

Smithsonian's National Zoo Orangutans Turn High-Tech with Apps for Apes

Think Tank is a place to think about thinking. It combines the appeal of animals with an interactive exploration of the question "What is thinking?"

This exhibit looks at cognition in three areas: tools, language, and society. The exhibit goals are to educate visitors about the field and the scientific process, and to build a conservation ethic through the understanding of animals as complex cognitive beings. more

The Zoo has an ongoing research project on orangutan memory, which can be seen at Think Tank.

Watch a researcher test an orangutan to learn how memories play into orangutan decision-making.

The Zoo is home to six orangutans, including two young Bornean orangutans. We have permission to breed them from the Species Survival Plan for orangutans. Asia's largest primates, orangutans live only in rainforests on the Southeast Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. more

A project looking at the development of gestural communication with gorillas will commence with the birth of an orangutan.

Macaques and Orangutans at Think Tank

Sulawesi macaques, one of the world's 21 macaque species, can be seen at Think Tank. These black-haired monkeys are native to a few Indonesian islands and are endangered. more

O Line at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Think Tank is connected to the Great Ape House by the Orangutan Transportation System, or O Line, which the Zoo's orangutans can use to travel between the buildings, as the weather allows. The Zoo's orangutans can choose to travel on the O Line and spend the night at either the Great Ape House or at Think Tank. Some days, several of them spend the night at Think Tank, while other days, Think Tank is empty because all of them have spent the night at the great Ape House.

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Watching orangutans: The Zoo is home to six orangutans, four females and two males. They have access to the Great Ape House and Think Tank, a place to think about thinking. Native to tropical rainforests, orangutans are Asia's largest primates and the world's largest tree-dwelling animals.
Meet the Orangutans | Download the Zoo's app