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In Photos: Adorable Orangutan Shows Off Knot-Tying Skills

An orangutan portrait

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana is a female Bornean orangutan that lives in Apenheul Primate Park, in the Netherlands. Her claim to fame is her amazing knot tying, an ability thought to be unique to humans. Researchers have found that the 20-year-old ape (she was born in 1995) is a knot-tying expert: She ties and unties knots; she creates knots from just about any material, from rolls of paper to pieces of garden hose. Here's a look at the darling orangutan.

Wattana travels

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana was born in Antwerp Zoo in Belgium on Nov. 17, 1995. She came in Paris in 1998. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Living in Paris

Wattana when she was living in the Menagerie of the Museum of Natural History, in Paris.

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

This image shows Wattana when she was living in the Menagerie of the Museum of Natural History, in Paris. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

In the Netherlands

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana now lives in Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands, where she raised her son Kawan. Since Wattana herself was hand-raised at Antwerp, she needed to learn mothering skills from Apenheul's other orangutan moms, Sandy and Radja, according to the Apenheul Primate Park site. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Quadrumana

Wattana is using the ropes and the wooden pole of her enclosure to weave the wool yarns given to her.

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana is using the ropes and the wooden pole of her enclosure to weave the wool yarns that we gave her. In fact, Wattana is a "quadrumana," meaning she ties knots using her hands and feet, and sometimes even her mouth. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Self-taught

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana is a true knot-tying expert. She was never taught how to tie knots, she just learned on her own. And Wattana isn't satisfied with simple knots. For instance, she has crafted a sort of necklace out of bamboo pieces, small cardboard tubes or beads. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Focus, focus

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

Wattana is concentrating hard when she is tying knots. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Knotsmith

(Image credit: Copyright Chris Herzfeld)

When provided with various materials, Wattana made knots with all of them: strings, wool yarns, shoe laces, cords, garden hoses, etc. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Baby Wattana

(Image credit: Copyright Christelle Hano, MNHN, Paris)

When Wattana arrived in Paris, she was still a 'child.' She was drinking her milk with a baby bottle. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Being a mom

(Image credit: Copyright Christelle Hano, MNHN, Paris)

Wattana is shown here with her daughter, Lingga, soon after her birth in August 2005. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]

Surrogate mom

(Image credit: Copyright Margot Federer)

Wattana with her surrogate mother, Margot Federer, when she was a few months old, in the Wilhelma Zoo of Stuttgart in Germany. [Read the full story on Wattana, the orangutan]