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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Western Gorilla
(Gorilla gorilla)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Gorillini
Genus: Gorilla
I. Geoffroy, 1852
Type species
Troglodytes gorilla
Savage, 1847
distribution of Gorilla
Gorillas are the largest of the living primates. They are ground-dwelling and predominantly herbivorous. They inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under debate as of 2008) either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is 98%–99% identical to that of a human,[2] and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.
.Gorillas live in tropical or subtropical forests.^ Gorillas live only in tropical forests of equatorial Africa.
  • gorilla (primate species) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 18 January 2010 12:26 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Gorillas live in tropical or subtropical forests.
  • Gorilla - Kosmix : Reference, Videos, Images, News, Shopping and more... 18 January 2010 12:26 UTC www.kosmix.com [Source type: General]

^ Lowland Gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level.
  • Gorilla - Kosmix : Reference, Videos, Images, News, Shopping and more... 18 January 2010 12:26 UTC www.kosmix.com [Source type: General]

Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The Mountain Gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,000 ft). Lowland Gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level.



The American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage and naturalist Jeffries Wyman first described the Western Gorilla (they called it Troglodytes gorilla) in 1847 from specimens obtained in Liberia.[3] The name was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women") described by Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian navigator and possible visitor (circa 480 BC) to the area that later became Sierra Leone.[4]

Evolution and classification

Female gorilla
The closest relatives of gorillas are chimpanzees and humans, from which gorillas diverged about 7 million years ago.[5] Human genes differ only 1.6% on average from their corresponding gorilla genes in their sequence, but there is further difference in how many copies each gene has.[6]
Until recently there was considered to be a single gorilla species, with three subspecies: the Western Lowland Gorilla, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla and the Mountain Gorilla.[7][8] There is now agreement that there are two species with two subspecies each. More recently it has been claimed that a third subspecies exists in one of the species.
Primatologists continue to explore the relationships between various gorilla populations.[7] The species and subspecies listed here are the ones upon which most scientists agree.
The proposed third subspecies of Gorilla beringei, which has not yet received a trinomen, is the Bwindi population of the Mountain Gorilla, sometimes called the Bwindi Gorilla.

Physical characteristics

Video showing a Western Lowland Gorilla walking on all four limbs towards a second gorilla which is sitting around on a rock. The second gorilla turns towards the camera inquisitively.
Two Western Lowland Gorillas move around at Ueno Zoo.
Gorillas move around by knuckle-walking. Adult males range in height from 1.65–1.75 metres (5 ft 5 in–5 ft 9 in), and in weight from 140–200 kg (310–440 lb). Adult females are often half the size of a silverback, averaging about 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) tall and 100 kg (220 lb). Occasionally, a silverback of over 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) and 230 kg (510 lb) has been recorded in the wild. However, obese gorillas in captivity have reached a weight of 270 kg (600 lb).[9] Gorillas have a facial structure which is described as mandibular prognathism, that is, their mandible protrudes farther out than the maxilla.
The Eastern Gorilla is more darkly colored than the Western Gorilla, with the Mountain Gorilla being the darkest of all. The Mountain Gorilla also has the thickest hair. The Western Lowland Gorilla can be brown or grayish with a reddish forehead. In addition, gorillas that live in lowland forests are more slender and agile than the more bulky Mountain Gorilla.[10]
Almost all gorillas share the same blood type (B)[11] and, like humans, have individual finger prints.[12]


Group life

A silverback is an adult male gorilla, typically more than 12 years of age and named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on his back. A silverback gorilla has large canine teeth that come with maturity. Blackbacks are sexually mature males of up to 11 years of age.
A silverback gorilla portrait
Silverbacks are the strong, dominant troop leaders. Each typically leads a troop (group size ranges from 5 to 30) and is in the center of the troop's attention, making all the decisions, mediating conflicts, determining the movements of the group, leading the others to feeding sites and taking responsibility for the safety and well-being of the troop. Blackbacks may serve as backup protection.
Males will slowly begin to leave their original troop when they are about 11 years old, traveling alone or with a group of other males for 2–5 years before being able to attract females to form a new group and start breeding. While infant gorillas normally stay with their mother for 3–4 years, silverbacks will care for weaned young orphans, though never to the extent of carrying the little gorillas. If challenged by a younger or even by an outsider male, a silverback will scream, beat his chest, break branches, bare his teeth, then charge forward. Sometimes a younger male in the group can take over leadership from an old male. If the leader is killed by disease, accident, fighting or poachers, the group will split up, as the animals disperse to look for a new protective male. Occasionally, a group may be taken over in its entirety by another male. There is a strong risk that the new male will kill the infants of the dead silverback.

Food and foraging

Female and baby gorillas
Gorillas are herbivores,[13] eating fruits, leaves, and shoots. Further they are classified as foliovores. Much like other animals that feed on plants and shoots, they sometimes ingest small insects as well (however there has been video proof that gorillas do eat ants and termites much in the same way as chimpanzees.)[14] Gorillas spend most of the day eating. Their large sagittal crest and long canines allow them to crush hard plants like bamboo. Lowland gorillas feed mainly on fruit while Mountain gorillas feed mostly on herbs, stems and roots.[10]

Reproduction and lifespan

Gestation is 8½ months. .There are typically 3 to 4 years between births.^ There are typically 3 to 4 years between births.
  • Free gorilla Download 18 January 2010 12:26 UTC wareseeker.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Wild female gorillas give birth about once every four years, and there is no fixed breeding season.
  • gorilla (primate species) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 18 January 2010 12:26 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Infants stay with their mothers for 3–4 years. Females mature at 10–12 years (earlier in captivity); males at 11–13 years. Lifespan is between 30–50 years, although there have been exceptions. For example the Dallas Zoo's Jenny lived to the age of 55.[15][16][17] Recently, gorillas have been observed engaging in face-to-face sex, a trait that was once considered unique to humans and the Bonobo.[18]


Gorillas are closely related to humans and are considered highly intelligent. A few individuals in captivity, such as Koko, have been taught a subset of sign language (see animal language for a discussion).

Tool use

A female gorilla exhibiting tool use by using a tree trunk as a support whilst fishing
The following observations were made by a team led by Thomas Breuer of the Wildlife Conservation Society in September 2005. Gorillas are now known to use tools in the wild. A female gorilla in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo was recorded using a stick as if to gauge the depth of water whilst crossing a swamp. A second female was seen using a tree stump as a bridge and also as a support whilst fishing in the swamp. This means that all of the great apes are now known to use tools.[19]
In September 2005, a two and a half year old gorilla in the Republic of Congo was discovered using rocks to smash open palm nuts inside a game sanctuary.[20] While this was the first such observation for a gorilla, over 40 years previously chimpanzees had been seen using tools in the wild, famously 'fishing' for termites. Great apes are endowed with a semi-precision grip, and certainly have been able to use both simple tools and even weapons, by improvising a club from a convenient fallen branch.

Interactions with humans


The word "gorilla" comes from the history of Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian explorer on an expedition on the west African coast. They encountered "a savage people, the greater part of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy, and who our interpreters called Gorillae".[21] The word was then later used as the species name, though it is unknown whether what these ancient Carthaginians encountered were truly gorillas, another species of ape or monkeys, or humans.[7]
American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage obtained the first specimens (the skull and other bones) during his time in Liberia in Africa.[3] The first scientific description of gorillas dates back to an article by Savage and the naturalist Jeffries Wyman in 1847 in Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History,[22][23] where Troglodytes gorilla is described, now known as the Western Gorilla. Other species of gorilla are described in the next couple of years.[7]
Explorer Paul du Chaillu was the first westerner to see a live gorilla during his travel through western equatorial Africa from 1856 to 1859. He brought dead specimens to the UK in 1861.[24][25]
The first systematic study was not conducted until the 1920s, when Carl Akeley of the American Museum of Natural History traveled to Africa to hunt for an animal to be shot and stuffed. On his first trip he was accompanied by his friends Mary Bradley, a famous mystery writer, and her husband. After their trip, Mary Bradley wrote On the Gorilla Trail. She later became an advocate for the conservation of gorillas and wrote several more books (mainly for children). In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Robert Yerkes and his wife Ava helped further the study of gorillas when they sent Harold Bigham to Africa. Yerkes also wrote a book in 1929 about the great apes.
After World War 2, George Schaller was one of the first researchers to go into the field and study primates. In 1959, he conducted a systematic study of the mountain gorilla in the wild and published his work. Years later, at the behest of Louis Leakey and the National Geographic, Dian Fossey conducted a much longer and more comprehensive study of the Mountain Gorilla. It was not until she published her work that many misconceptions and myths about gorillas were finally disproved, including the myth that gorillas are violent.


Both species of gorilla are endangered, and have been subject to intense poaching for a long time. Threats to gorilla survival include habitat destruction and the bushmeat trade. In 2004 a population of several hundred gorillas in the Odzala National Park, Republic of Congo was essentially wiped out by the Ebola virus.[26] A 2006 study published in Science concluded that more than 5,000 gorillas may have died in recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus in central Africa. The researchers indicated that in conjunction with commercial hunting of these apes, the virus creates "a recipe for rapid ecological extinction."[27] Conservation efforts include the Great Ape Survival Project, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and also an international treaty, the Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and Their Habitats, concluded under UNEP-administered Convention on Migratory Species. The Gorilla Agreement is the first legally binding instrument exclusively targeting Gorilla conservation and came into effect on 1 June 2008.

Cultural references

Since they came to the attention of western society in the 1860s, gorillas have been a recurring element of many aspects of popular culture and media. For example, gorillas have featured prominently in monstrous fantasy films such as King Kong, and pulp fiction such as the stories of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian have featured gorillas as physical opponents to the titular protagonists.

See also


  1. ^ a b Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M.. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 181-182. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=12100787.  
  2. ^ In a talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association on November 20, 1999, Jonathan Marks stated: "Humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas are within two percentage points of one another genetically." Jonathan Marks. "What It Really Means To Be 99% Chimpanzee". http://personal.uncc.edu/jmarks/interests/aaa/marksaaa99.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-10.  
  3. ^ a b Conniff R. Discovering gorilla. Evolutionary Anthropology, 18: 55-61. doi:10.1002/evan.20203
  4. ^ Müller, C. (1855-61). Geographici Graeci Minores. pp. 1.1–14: text and trans. Ed, J. Blomqvist (1979).  
  5. ^ Glazko GV, Nei M (March 2003). "Estimation of divergence times for major lineages of primate species". Mol. Biol. Evol. 20 (3): 424–34. doi:10.1093/molbev/msg050. PMID 12644563. http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/20/3/424.  
  6. ^ Goidts V, Armengol L, Schempp W, et al. (March 2006). "Identification of large-scale human-specific copy number differences by inter-species array comparative genomic hybridization". Hum. Genet. 119 (1-2): 185–98. doi:10.1007/s00439-005-0130-9. PMID 16395594.  
  7. ^ a b c d Groves, Colin (2002). "A history of gorilla taxonomy". Gorilla Biology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Andrea B. Taylor & Michele L. Goldsmith (editors) (Cambridge University Press): 15–34. doi:10.2277/0521792819. http://arts.anu.edu.au/grovco/Gorilla%20Biology.pdf.  
  8. ^ Stewart, Kelly J.; Pascale Sicotte, Martha M. Robbins (2001). "Mountain Gorillas of the Virungas". Fathom / Cambridge University Press. http://www.fathom.com/course/21701783/. Retrieved 2008-09-11.  
  9. ^ "Gorilla - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition". bartleby.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080212005936/http://www.bartleby.com/65/go/gorilla.html. Retrieved 2006-10-10.  
  10. ^ a b "Gorilla Information: A gorilla's habitat and diet". http://www.volcanoessafaris.com/great-apes.htm.  
  11. ^ Glass, Bonnie B. (2001). "Evolution of the Human". http://facstaff.uwa.edu/jmccall/evolution_of_the_human.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-22.  
  12. ^ "Santa Barbara Zoo - Western Lowland Gorilla". santabarbarazoo.org. http://www.santabarbarazoo.org/showAnimals.asp?id=149. Retrieved 2006-10-10.  
  13. ^ "Gorilla gorilla: Information". animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gorilla_gorilla.html. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  14. ^ "Looking at Ape Diets: Myths, Realities, and Rationalizations". beyondveg.com. http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-2a.shtml. Retrieved 2007-01-03.  
  15. ^ .tv3.co.nz, World's oldest gorilla celebrates 55th birthday
  16. ^ gmanews.tv/story, Gorilla celebrates 55th birthday with frozen cake
  17. ^ Associated Press, Oldest living gorilla dies at 55, Houston Chronicle, 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  18. ^ Caught in the act! Gorillas mate face to face
  19. ^ Breuer, T; Ndoundou-Hockemba M, Fishlock V (2005). "First Observation of Tool Use in Wild Gorillas". PLoS Biol 3 (11): e380. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030380. PMID doi:[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0030380 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030380 16187795 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030380].  
  20. ^ "A Tough Nut To Crack For Evolution". CBS News. 2005-10-18. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/18/tech/main951800.shtml. Retrieved 2006-10-18.  
  21. ^ Periplus of Hanno, final paragraph
  22. ^ Savage TS. (1847). Communication describing the external character and habits of a new species of Troglodytes (T. gorilla). Boston Soc Nat Hist: 245–247.
  23. ^ Savage TS, Wyman J. (1847). Notice of the external characters and habits of Troglodytes gorilla, a new species of orang from the Gaboon River, osteology of the same. Boston J Nat Hist 5:417–443.
  24. ^ McCook, S. (1996). ""It May Be Truth, but It Is Not Evidence": Paul du Chaillu and the Legitimation of Evidence in the Field Sciences". Osiris 11: 177–197. doi:10.1086/368759.  
  25. ^ A History of Museum Victoria: Melbourne 1865: Gorillas at the Museum
  26. ^ "Gorillas infecting each other with Ebola". NewScientist.com. 2006-07-10. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9517-gorillas-infecting-each-other-with-ebola.html. Retrieved 2006-07-10.  
  27. ^ "Ebola 'kills over 5,000 gorillas'". News.bbc.co.uk. 2006-12-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6220122.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-09.  

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GORILLA (or PoNGO), the largest of the man-like apes, and a native of West Africa from the Congo to Cameroon, whence it extends eastwards across the continent to German East Africa. Many naturalists regard the gorilla as best included in the same genus as the chimpanzee, in which case it should be known as Anthropopithecus gorilla, but by others it is regarded as the representative of a genus by itself, when its title will be Gorilla savagei, or G. gorilla. That there are local forms of gorilla is quite certain: but whether any of these are entitled to rank as distinct species may be a matter of opinion. It was long supposed that the apes encountered on an island off the west coast of Africa by Hanno, the Carthaginian, were gorillas, but in the XII. 9 opinion of some of those best qualified to judge, it is probable that the creatures in question were really baboons. The first real account of the gorilla appears to be the one given by an English sailor, Andrew Battel, who spent some time in the wilds of West Africa during and about the year 1590; his account being presented in Purchas's Pilgrimage, published in the year 1613. From this appears that Battel was familiar with both the chimpanzee and the gorilla, the former of which he terms engeco and the latter pongo - names which ought apparently to be adopted for these two species in place of those now in use. Between Battel's time and 1846 nothing appears to have been heard of the gorilla or pongo, but in that year a missionary at the Gabun accidentally discovered a skull of the huge ape; and in 1847 a sketch of that specimen, together with two others, came into the hands of Sir R. Owen, by whom the name Gorilla savagei was proposed for the new ape in 1848. Dr Thomas Savage, a missionary at the Gabun, who sent Owen information with regard to the original skull, had, however, himself proposed the name Troglodytes gorilla in 1847. The first complete skeleton of a gorilla sent to Europe was received at the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1851, and the first complete skin appears to have reached the British Museum in 1858. Paul B. du Chaillu's account (1861) of his journeys in the Gabun region popularized the knowledge of the existence of the gorilla. Male gorillas largely exceed the females in size, and attain a height of from 51 ft. to 62 ft., or perhaps even more. Some of the features distinguishing the gorilla from the mere gorilla-like chimpanzees will be found mentioned in the article PRIMATES. Among them are the small ears, elongated head, the presence of a deep groove alongside the nostrils, the small size of the thumb, and the great length of the arm, which reaches half-way down the shin-bone (tibia) in the erect posture. In old males the eyes are overhung by a beetling penthouse of bone, the hinder half of the middle line of the skull bears a wall-like bony ridge for the attachment of the powerful jaw-muscles, and the tusks, or canines, are of monstrous size, recalling those of a carnivorous animal. The general colour is blackish, with a more or less marked grey or brownish tinge on the hair of the shoulders, and sometimes of chestnut on the head. Mr G. L. Bates (in Proc. Zool. Soc., 1905, vol. i.) states that gorillas only leave the depths of the forest to enter the outlying clearings in the neighbourhood of human settlements when they are attracted by some special fruit or succulent plant; the favourite being the fruit of the "mejom," a tall cane-like plant (perhaps a kind of Amomum) which grows abundantly on deserted clearings. At one isolated village the natives, who were unarmed, reported that they not unfrequently saw and heard the gorillas, which broke down the stalks of the plantains in the rear of the habitations to tear out and eat the tender heart. On the old clearings of another village Mr Bates himself, although he did not see a gorilla, saw the fresh tracks of these great apes and the torn stems and discarded fruit rinds of the "mejoms," as well as the broken stalks of the latter, which had been used for beds. On another occasion he came across the bed of an old gorilla which had been used only the night before, as was proved by a negro woman, who on the previous evening had heard the animal breaking and treading down the stalks to form its couch. According to native report, the gorillas sleep on these beds, which are of sufficient thickness to raise them a foot or two above the ground, in a sitting posture, with the head inclined forwards on the breast. In the first case Mr Bates states that the tracks and beds indicated the presence of three or four gorillas, some of which were small. This account does not by any means accord with one given by von Koppenfels, in which it is stated that while the old male gorilla sleeps in a sitting posture at the base of a tree-trunk (no mention being made of a bed), the female and young ones pass the night in a nest in the tree several yards above the ground, made by bending the boughs together and covering them with twigs and moss. Mr Bates's account, as being based on actual inspection of the beds, is probably the more trustworthy. Even when asleep and snoring, gorillas are difficult to approach, since they awake at the slightest rustle, and an attempt to surround the one heard making his bed by the woman resulted in failure. Most gorillas killed by natives are believed by Mr Bates to have been encountered suddenly in the daytime on the ground or in low trees in the outlying clearings. Many natives, even if armed, refuse, however, to molest an adult male gorilla, on account of its ferocity when wounded. Mr Bates, like Mr Wiriwood Reade, refused to credit du Chaillu's account of his having killed gorillas, and stated that the only instance he knew of one of these animals being slain by a European was an old male (now in Mr Walter Rothschild's museum at Tring) shot by the German trader Paschen in the Yaunde district, of which an illustrated account was published in 1901. Mr E. J. Corns states, however, that two European traders, apparently in the "'eighties" of the 19th century, were in the habit of surrounding and capturing these animals as occasion offered.' Fully adult gorillas have never been seen alive in captivity - and perhaps never will be, as the creature is ferocious and morose to a degree. So long ago as the year 1855, when the species was known to zoologists only by its skeleton, a gorilla was actually living in England. This animal, a young female, came from the Gabun, and was kept for some months in Wombwell's travelling menagerie, where it was treated as a pet. On its death, the body was sent to Mr Charles Waterton, of Walton Hall, by whom the skin was mounted in a grotesque manner, and the skeleton given to the Leeds museum. Apparently, however, it was not till several years later that the skin was recognized by Mr A. D. Bartlett as that of a gorilla; the animal having probably been regarded by its owner as a chimpanzee. A young male was purchased by the Zoological Society in October 1887, from Mr Cross, the Liverpool dealer in animals. At the time of arrival it was supposed to be about three years old, and stood 22 ft. high. A second, a male, supposed to be rather older, was acquired in March 1896, having been brought to Liverpool from the French Congo. It is described as having been thoroughly healthy at the date of its arrival, and of an amiable and tractable disposition. Neither survived long. Two others were received in the Zoological Society's menagerie in 1904, and another was housed there for a short time in the following year, while a fifth was received in 1906. Falkenstein's gorilla, exhibited at the Westminster aquarium under the name of pongo, and afterwards at the Berlin aquarium, survived for eighteen months. "Pussi," the gorilla of the Breslau Zoological Gardens, holds a record for longevity, with over seven years of menagerie life. Writing in 1903 Mr T. W. Hornaday stated that but one live gorilla, and that a tiny infant, had ever landed in the United States; and it lived only five days after arrival. (R. L.*)

<< Gori


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

  1. a taxonomic genus, within subfamily Homininae - the gorillas, the largest of the great apes

Related terms

Wikispecies has information on:
  • species
    • Gorilla gorilla
    • Gorilla beringei



Gorilla m. (genitive Gorillas, plural Gorillas)
  1. gorilla


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Ordo: Primates
Subordo: Haplorrhini
Infraordo: Simiiformes
Parvordo: Catarrhini
Superfamilia: Hominoidea
Familia: Hominidae
Subfamilia: Homininae
Tribus: Gorillini
Genus: Gorilla
Species: G. beringei - G. gorilla


Gorilla Geoffroy, 1852

Type species


Vernacular names

Česky: Gorila
Deutsch: Gorilla
Ελληνικά: Γορίλας
English: Gorilla
Español: Gorila
Esperanto: Gorilo
Français: Gorille
Galego: Gorila
한국어: 고릴라속
Italiano: Gorilla
עברית: גורילה
ქართული: გორილა
Nederlands: Gorilla
日本語: ゴリラ属
Polski: Goryl
Português: Gorila
Türkçe: Goril


  • Gorilla on Mammal Species of the World.
    Don E. Wilson & DeeAnn M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed).
  • C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 36: 933.
  • Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 3rd edition, 2005 ISBN 0801882214

Simple English

Western Lowland Gorilla, Bristol Zoo
(Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Gorillini
Genus: Gorilla

Gorillas are the largest member of the ape family. They may be agressive when attacked or provoked, but they are naturally gentle animals.



  • Genus Gorilla
    • Western Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla
      • Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla
      • Cross River Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla diehli
    • Eastern Gorilla, Gorilla beringei
      • Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei
      • Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla beringei graueri


a silverback - an older male gorilla

Gorillas are the biggest primates. They can become very heavy, and are very strong. A male gorilla can weigh up to 225 kilograms and stand 1.8 meters in hieight. Gorillas are peaceful animals that live in family groups called troops. They have a broad chest, wide shoulders, short legs, and long, powerful, strong arms. They have black skin and fur. Male gorillas' fur becomes silver/grey on their backs as they become older. Because of that older males are called silverbacks.


[[File:|thumb|140px|where gorillas live]] Gorillas live in the (rain)forests in central Africa. They mostly live on the ground, but they can also climb. When on the ground, they walk on their feet and finger knuckles. Troops of gorillas wander slowly through the forests of Central Africa. For about half of their day they search for leaves, vines, and bamboo shoots to eat. For the rest of the day, they lay in the sun and play with their children. If another gorilla threatens them, the troop's leader, the silverback, protects them by rearing up and beating his chest. Few animals can survive the attack of an angry gorilla.

Gorillas sleep in nests that they build on the ground. At the end of each day, each adult gorilla will spend a few minutes putting together a soft, flat bed made of leaves, branches, and moss. The young gorillas sleep with their mothers.

The gestation period of a gorilla lasts between eight and ten months. Gorillas almost always produce one offspring - twins are rare. Gorilla babies begin to hang onto their mothers when they are only a few hours old and will continue to do so for the next three years. Gorillas live up to 50 years in the wild and up to 54 years in captivity. [1]

Other pages


  1. Blue Planet Level 5, written by Dinorah Pous p.71 to p.72
Look up Gorilla in Wikispecies, a directory of species
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Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 26, 2010

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