Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The eponymous genus Gorilla is divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas, and either four or five subspecies. They are the largest living primates. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.
Lets learn more about this species
1 Types of Gorilla
There are two species of gorilla – eastern and western. Each of these is divided into two subspecies – eastern lowland and mountain (eastern) and western lowland and cross river (western). The two species live in central Africa, separated by a vast swathe of rainforest.
The western lowland gorilla is the most numerous of the four subspecies, with population estimates often cited at 100,000-200,000. However, due to its dense, remote habitat, no one knows for sure how many exist. The least numerous is the cross river gorilla, which is confined to scattered areas of forest in Nigeria and Cameroon, and is thought to number no more than 300 individuals.
3 Size Matters
Gorillas are the world’s largest primates. They are closely related to humans, with 98% of their DNA identical to that of Homo sapiens. A Gorilla can be 6ft tall and weigh 500 pounds.
4 Seeds of survival
As roaming herbivores, gorillas play a vital role in seed dispersal. Many large fruit trees depend upon these animals to survive.
5 Captive Skills
- Gorillas are highly intelligent. They use tools and have various methods of communication, including some 25 different sounds. One famous captive-born individual, Koko, has been taught sign language since she was a year old. By the age of 40, she had a library of about 1,000 signs and could understand some 2,000 words of English.
- Gorillas were seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild in 2005. They were observed using sticks to test the depth of muddy water and to cross swampy areas.
6 Food factors
Gorillas are mainly herbivores. They spend most of their day foraging for bamboo, fruit and leafy plants, though western lowlands also eat small insects. Adult gorillas can eat up to 30kg of food each day.Gorillas are herbivores meaning they don’t eat meat.
7 Social Skills
- Gorillas build nests in which to sleep, both on the ground and in trees, made of leaves and branches. Counting abandoned nests is an effective way for scientists to estimate population size.
- Gorilla’s live in groups of 6-12 called bands or troops. They consist mostly of one silverback, a couple of females and their young
- Gorillas have been observed displaying emotions such as grief.
- Gorilla family groups each live within relatively small areas of land. Different groups can however occupy converging areas and co-exist peacefully.
- Social grooming is an important aspect of gorilla groups which helps to establish and reinforce social bonds. Gorillas will groom each other by coming each other with their fingers and teeth.
8 Sensitive nose
Gorillas have unique nose prints, much like human fingerprints, which can be used to identify individuals.
- Females usually produce just one baby every four to six years. In total, a female will only give birth three or four times. Such a low reproduction rate makes it difficult for populations to bounce back following a decline.
- A baby Gorilla starts to crawl around 2 months and walk by 9 months. They stay with their mothers for 3-4 years.
10 Chatter matters
- A study in 2012 on captive populations revealed that female western lowland gorillas use a type of ‘baby talk’ to communicate with their babies. Scientists observed that mothers used more tactile and more repetitive gestures with their young than with other adults.
- They communicate using gestures, body postures, sounds, and by slapping their chests. Some gorillas living in captivity have even been taught sign language.
- Gorillas are shy animals, they are not aggressive.
- Gorillas are an endangered species. They are endangered mainly due to loss of habitat and being hunted by humans.
- Although gorillas are generally quiet, they have a range of complex vocalisations which are used to communicate information in numerous contexts including teaching survival skills to young, searching for food, and in courtship. Like some other apes such as chimpanzees and orangutans they are even capable of learning basic human sign language.
12 Physical Appearance
- Like humans Gorillas have 5 toes on each foot and 5 fingers on each hand.
- Gorillas have a small ear on each side of their head and 32 teeth.
- Unlike humans, gorilla arms are longer than their legs.
- Gorillas walk using their legs and knuckles.
- Adult male Gorillas (over the age of 12) are called silverbacks. This is because the hair on their backs start to turn from black to gray.
- Their only predator are humans.
13 life span
Gorillas can live 35 years in the wild and over 50 years in captivity.
Source: Wikipedia,Discoverwildlife,onekind, google images