What are the characteristics, diet, and habitat of a gorilla? and What are 15 amazing facts about gorillas?
Description of the gorilla
Gorilla, (genus Gorilla), is a genus of primates that includes the largest apes. The gorilla is one of man's closest living relatives; The two groups shared a common ancestor about 10 million years ago. Gorillas only live in the rainforests of equatorial Africa.
The gorilla is robust and powerful, with an extremely thick and powerful chest and a prominent abdomen. Skin and hair are black. The face has large nostrils, small ears, and prominent bumps. Adults have long, muscular arms that are 15-20% longer than stubby legs. Males weigh about twice as much as females and can reach a height of about 1.7 meters (5.5 ft) and a weight (in the wild) of 135–220 kg (300–485 lbs).
Hands are proportionally large with nails on all fingers and very large thumbs. Western gorillas often stand up, but walk hunched and on all fours with their hands clasped and knuckles touching the ground. Quadruped walking requires long arms, and a gorilla's wingspan is greater than its standing height. The limbs are plantigrade and pentadactyl.
Captive gorillas of both sexes can gain weight and become much heavier as a result. A wild adult female is typically around 1.5 meters tall and weighs between 70 and 90 kg. Gorillas are hairless on their faces, hands, and feet, and older males are bare-chested.
The G. beringei beringei have hair longer than that of the other three subspecies. Adult males have a prominent crest on top of the skull and a gray or silver fur "saddle" on the lower back, hence the term silverback is commonly used to refer to adult males. This mountain is much more visible in eastern gorillas (G. beringei), which are jet black than in western gorillas (G. gorilla), which are drabber.
Distribution of the gorilla
Western or lowland gorillas inhabit the forests of equatorial Africa from the western lowlands near the coast of Cameroon to the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are two recognized subspecies, the G. gorilla and the western lowland gorilla, which are found in Cameroon south of the Congo River and east of the Ubangi River. Gorilla gorilla diehli, an eastern lowland gorilla, is found in a small portion of Nigeria's border with Cameroon in the upper Cross River basin.
Characteristics of the gorilla
The gorilla is the largest of all primates.
Adult male western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are about 1.7 m long and weigh about 169.5 kg. Adult females are about 1.5 m long and weigh about 71.5 kg.
Adult male mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) can weigh up to 220 kg (484 lbs), with females weighing around 97.7 kg (215 lbs).
Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) have been difficult to study due to their shy nature. However, an adult male is estimated to weigh around 180 kg (396 lbs).
Eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla berengei grauri) are slightly larger than western species, with adult males weighing up to 220 kg (484 lbs) and females around 80 kg (176 lbs).
Gorillas have a special shape because their abdomen is larger than their chest. The size of the stomach is attributed to the enlarged intestines digesting the bulky fibrous vegetation they consume.
Gorillas have weaker muscles in their legs than in their arms (and vice versa in humans). This is mainly because they use the greater strength of their arms for stooping and gathering foliage and for defense. Although they can walk upright on two legs, most of the time they walk quadruped (on four limbs).
Gorillas' arms are much longer than their legs, and the arm span is approximately 30 cm longer than that of an adult human male. The outstretched arms indicate arboreal ancestry, although today gorillas are primarily terrestrial (ground dwellers).
Habitat of the gorilla
Gorillas primarily inhabit tropical rainforest habitats. Tropical forests are characterized by low-temperature fluctuations (about 23 ° C) and sunshine (about 12 hours). However, in the tropics, rainfall varies widely and is an important factor in the type of vegetation that grows in an area.
Lowland areas of tropical forests often have a long dry season and are often composed of thorny shrubs, trees, and succulents (plants that can store water in their cells).
Other areas with distinct wet and dry seasons typically consist of tropical deciduous forests. Deciduous trees and shrubs shed their leaves during the dry season and sprout new leaves when it rains.
Most of these national parks in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are recognized as World Heritage Sites, but mountain gorillas remain threatened. Long-term regional unrest has pushed refugees into the area, leading to poaching and deforestation.
Communication between gorillas
Gorillas use a variety of vocalizations to communicate; Growls, moans, barks, moans, laughs, and belches are just a few examples. The burp is a soft contact call used when humans are unable to make eye contact and excited gorillas may bark, howl, roar, or yell. Male performances using a combination of these calls also include charging, straying, and green shedding. Gorilla pair laughing when they play.
Diet of the gorilla
Wild gorillas are herbivores, subsisting primarily on succulent stems. They will also consume fibrous bark, ferns, berries, and leaves of trees. In the morning and evening, usually Gorillas eat. Western gorillas climb trees up to 15 meters high in search of food. Gorillas never completely clear the vegetation of a single area. The rapid growth of the vegetation they consume allows them to remain in a reasonably limited area for long periods of time.
Gorillas generally dislike water, but in some areas, such as the Sangha-Ndoki region on the border of Cameroon, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), and the Central African Republic, they wade up to their waists in swampy clearings in search of food. aquatic fish. Plans.
Gorillas spend most of their time feeding and resting, with the group moving a few hundred meters between multiple daily feedings. Each group roams a home range of approximately 2 to 40 square kilometers (0.77 to 16 sq mi), although several different groups may share the same portion of the forest. At sunset, each gorilla builds its own sleeping nest by twisting branches and leaves. A new nest is built each night on the ground or in the trees.
Species of the gorilla
There are two species and four subspecies.
The western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) consists of two subspecies:
The western lowland gorilla (G. gorilla gorilla) inhabiting lowland rainforests from Cameroon to Congo.
The Cross River gorilla (G. gorilla diehli) inhabits a small forest region along the Cross River separating Nigeria from Cameroon.
The eastern gorilla (G. beringei) is also composed of two subspecies:
The eastern lowland gorilla or gray gorilla (G. beringei graueri) of the tropical forests of the eastern lowlands of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa),
The mountain gorilla (G. beringei beringei), is found in the montane rainforests and bamboo forests of mountainous terrain north and east of Lake Kivu near the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo (Kinshasa).
The behavior of the gorilla
The gorilla is much larger than its closest relative, the chimpanzee, and has a calmer temperament. Despite being a relatively quiet animal, the gorilla's song repertoire includes growls, screams, a fearsome alarm bark, and the roars of aggressive males. Much has been written about the gorilla's ferocity, but studies show that it is not aggressive or even shy unless unduly disturbed. The invaders can be confronted by the pack leader, who can stage aggressive demonstrations to protect his employees.
These displays usually involve breast flaps, vocalizations, or short runs toward the intruder, followed in most cases by a quiet retreat. The punch to the chest is performed by both males and females but is much more powerful in males because the air pockets in the throat and chest make the sound more resonant. The beating of the chest is usually part of a ritual that may also involve running sideways, running through vegetation, and touching the ground. Besides intimidating strangers (gorillas or humans), these displays are also used for communication between groups and are often used to maintain the dominant hierarchy within the group.
Cognitively, gorillas are calmer and more persistent but they lack the curiosity and adaptability of Chimpanzees. Captive gorillas displayed problem-solving skills and displayed some level of perception, memory, and anticipation of experience. They appear to be as adept as Chimpanzees at learning human sign language. Some gorillas can recognize their image in a mirror and therefore have limited self-esteem. This trait is shared with Chimpanzees and Orangutans. Few non-human animals possess this ability.
Reproduction of the gorilla
Female wild gorillas give birth every four years; there is no fixed breeding season. The gestation period is about eight and a half months and births are generally single, although twins are rarely produced. A newborn gorilla weighs only about 2 kg and is completely helpless for the first three months of life when it is carried in its mother's arms. The young gorilla sleeps in the mother's nest at night and rides on her back during the day.
Female gorillas reach reproductive maturity at around 10 years of age and are then transferred to another group or an individual silverback. Males reach sexual maturity at around 9 years of age but do not reproduce until physical maturity, around 12–15 years of age. Most male gorillas leave the group they were born into and attempt to reunite with the females to form their own family group.
Babies are breastfed for 3-4 years. With multiple puppies, the mother who has to carry the babies has difficulty caring for two and often lets one die. Babies grow about twice as fast as human babies and by 3 months of age are able to crawl and cling to their mother. They remain dependent on their mother for 3-4 years.
Females provide transport, food, and socialization for the young. They protect their young within the group. Males generally do not interact much with the young, although they protect their young by defending the social group from potentially infanticidal males who wish to take control of the group.
This may involve some aggression, as a young male may intrude on an established group and attempt to "kidnap" the females, sometimes killing the babies. Sometimes a male stays in his natal group and becomes his second silverback, mating with some females and eventually taking over when his father grows old or dies. The life expectancy of wild gorillas is around 35 years, although captive gorillas live up to 40 years.
Threats of the gorilla
Gorilla predation is probably not common given their massive size. Juveniles may be preyed upon by raptors or large carnivores. In addition, unweaned gorillas are vulnerable to infanticide by the males of their species.
The gorilla has become increasingly rare throughout its range as it has faced the destruction of its forest habitat by humans and overhunting and harvesting by zoos and research institutes. A more recent threat is hunting associated with the game trade, particularly to feed logging teams. As for eastern gorillas, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the eastern lowland gorilla (G. beringei graueri) and mountain gorilla (G. beringei beringei) as critically endangered subspecies.
There are fewer than 5,000 eastern lowland and mountain gorillas combined, with the smallest mountain gorilla population estimated at just 1,000 individuals. Mountain gorilla numbers continue to decline due to habitat loss to human activities: farming, grazing, logging, and more recently, habitat destruction by refugees. At the same time, ecotourism, which involves visiting travelers to see gorillas in their natural habitat, has helped protect mountain gorillas.
Although western gorillas outnumber their eastern counterparts, the IUCN still classifies both subspecies as critically endangered as their populations continue to decline due to the effects of poaching and habitat loss. Cross River gorillas are the most endangered with fewer than 250 adults.
However, population estimates for western lowland gorillas are significantly higher. They doubled in 2008 with the discovery of a previously unknown population of over 100,000 swamp dwellers in the Lac Télé Community Reserve in the Republic of the Congo. However, ecological studies continue to document the ongoing population decline among western lowland gorillas, which has increased from an estimated 362,000 in 2013 to 316,000 in 2018.
Interaction between gorillas and humans
Western gorillas have been used in the medical study of human diseases and in behavioral, language, and psychological studies. The mental capacity of gorillas is still being studied. Western gorillas show more persistence and memory skills in problem-solving studies than their close and more irritable relatives, the chimpanzee (Pan). Western gorillas complete a task out of interest rather than reward. After some success with Chimpanzees, researchers turned to communicating with gorillas using sign language in the mid-1970s, and one gorilla, Koko, learned over 1,000 signs.
Western gorillas are also illegally hunted in Africa for their skin and meat, which is served in restaurants in major cities. In addition, catching and selling gorillas in zoos is questionable for many, but undoubtedly profitable from a financial point of view.
The lifespan of the gorilla
Wild gorillas live between 35 and 40 years, and some captive gorillas live to almost 50 years.
15 Amazing facts about the gorilla
1- Although gorillas are generally silent, they have a variety of complex vocalizations that are used to communicate information in a variety of contexts, including teaching young survival skills, foraging, and during courtship. Like other apes such as Chimpanzees and Orangutans, they are capable of learning basic human sign language.
2- In mountain gorillas, “eruptive vocalization” is a contact call and a signal of satisfaction in foraging. Most gorillas use a low growl for position and as a sign of contentment. Aggressive displays such as beatings on the chest and flogging are fairly rare, but male gorillas use them as a warning when frightened or threatened.
3- Gorillas are mainly herbivores and most of their diet consists of leaves, shoots, and stems, some fruits, and some prey for small animals like larvae, caterpillars, snails, termites, and ants. Western lowland gorillas have a much higher proportion of fruit.
4- Gorillas have a gestation period of nine months like humans, but babies typically weigh about 4 pounds less than humans, and their development is about twice as fast.
5- Gorillas and Chimpanzees walk on all fours and use their knuckles to support the weight of their heads and torsos.
6- Scientists have shown that gorillas exhibit individual personalities.
7- Females start giving birth around the age of 10 and have children every 3-4 years. When she is in heat, she can only get pregnant three days a month.
8- Gorillas spend most of their time on the ground and not in trees, and every night they build new nests on the ground.
9- Gorillas were first seen in 2005 using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild. They have been observed using sticks to test the depth of murky waters and crossing swampy areas.
10- Gorillas are one of our closest living relatives after Chimpanzees and bonobos. They share between 95% and 99% of our DNA!
11- Family groups of gorillas live in relatively small areas. However, different groups can occupy converging territories and coexist peacefully.
12- Gorillas clean themselves by brushing their fingers and teeth. This "social cleansing" is an important aspect of gorilla groups, helping to build and strengthen social bonds.
13- There are two different types of gorillas (each with two subspecies). All species are threatened by habitat loss and hunting, among other factors, but the Cross River gorilla is the rarest, with fewer than 300 wild individuals in eight small isolated populations in Nigeria and Cameroon.
14- Gorillas have been observed to show emotions such as sadness and compassion for other primates including humans.
15- Gorillas live in fairly stable social groups consisting of an adult male, usually called a silverback (due to the silver hairs on his back indicating full adulthood), and several females with cubs and young. When young males reach 8-11 years of age, they usually migrate and join another group or form new groups.