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What is a Gorilla? How do Gorillas Look?

by | Feb 14, 2023 | 0 comments

WHAT IS A GORILLA, HOW DO GORILLAS LOOK, AND GORILLA SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

What is a Gorilla? The gorilla is a range-dwelling ape that lives in Central and West African jungles and is the largest land mammal in Africa. You may be wondering, “What is a gorilla?” and “How does a gorilla look like?” Gorillas are large, ground-dwelling apes that live in Central and West African jungles. There are several examples of famous gorillas and gorilla tales that are well-known by many people around the world. The gorilla is one of the most famous creatures in popular culture, and almost everyone knows of King Kong or those on the Planet of the Apes.

In many people’s imagination, gorillas are strong, powerful, and aggressive creatures that give you a nasty scare by pounding their chests and roaring, and have sharp canine teeth that can bite off your head at the slightest provocation. In reality, gorillas are extremely peaceful and remarkable creatures, as they demonstrate. Their behavior is quite the opposite of what is shown in films, TV series, cartoons, and video games.

The majority of gorillas possess human characteristics and emotions, such as laughter and sadness. They are gentle and peaceful giants, like us. In addition to being our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas also share 98.3% of our DNA. Look at some gorilla trivia: It is exciting to learn that gorillas are our closest relatives after chimpanzees and bonobos since they possess over 98% of our DNA. Gorillas are stocky primates with broad shoulders, long humanlike hands, small ears, and small eyes set in a hairless face. They have no tails, which results in a flat nose with large nostrils. The dark brown eyes of gorillas are framed by a black ring around the iris. They live in gorilla households as we do.

A gorilla family usually consists of several adult females, many juvenile gorillas, and Gorilla infants. Silverback gorillas are the heads of gorilla families. The silverback gorilla, the head of each family, is a dominant gorilla male that signals full adulthood with silvery back patches. The silverback gorilla and his females have a strong bond that is the foundation of the gorilla’s social life.

Gorillas are named after the Ancient Greek tribe of hairy women, described by a Carthaginian explorer around 500 BC as having a name derived from gorilla ‘a tribe of hairy women. “During an expedition on the West African coast, Hanno the Navigator met “savage people”, most of whom were women, who were hairy and were called gorilla by his interpreters.” Hanno’s interpreters may have seen western gorillas, a different species of apes or primates, or humans. Hanno’s gorilla skins were kept in Carthage until Rome destroyed the city 350 years later during the Punic Wars.

Thomas Staughton Savage, the American physician, and Jeffries Wyman, a naturalist, discovered western gorillas in Liberia in 1847. While identifying western gorillas (Troglodytes gorilla), Thomas Staughton Savage and Jeffries Wyman coined the terms gorilla and gorilla (Troglodytes gorilla) to describe them.

One of the apes was recovered and sent to the Berlin Zoological Museum, where Professor Paul Matschie (1861–1926) classified it as a new type of gorilla and named it Gorilla beringei after Frederick Robert Von Beringei (1861–1926).

DNA testing and fresh morphological studies have forced a revision of conventional taxonomic classifications. Five gorillas have been observed as two species and six subspecies. A table categorizing the two gorillas, two subspecies of gorillas, and their population numbers are below. There are 95,000 western lowland gorillas in the West gorilla and 95,000 cross-river gorillas in the Cross-river gorilla.

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About the Author

Anthony Nata

Adventure lover with unrivalled love for primates. Anthony is an intentional writer with keen interest in sharing about his travel experiences.

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