Gorillas are herbivorous great apes that inhabit the tropical forests. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95 to 99%. After chimpanzees and bonobos, Gorillas are the next closest living relatives to humans.
Gorillas are the largest living primates, reaching heights between 1.25 and 1.8 metres, and arm spans up to 2.6 metres, weights between 100 and 270 kg, depending on species. Their Weight varies in male and female. Gorillas live in troops, with one leader among them being called a silverback. In wild Gorillas can live for 35 to 40 years. The oldest gorilla ever is Fatou (b. 1957), who is still alive at the advanced age of 65 years. Fatou is residing at Berlin Zoo, Germany. She celebrated her 65th birthday on April 13, 2022.
Eastern Gorilla vs Mountain Gorilla
The eastern gorilla is also often bigger than the western gorilla. 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 greyish with a reddish forehead. gorillas that live in lowland forest are more slender and agile than the more bulky mountain gorillas. The eastern gorilla also has a longer face and broader chest than the western gorilla. In Comparison to Mountain Gorilla, the western lowland Gorilla is stronger.
Just like humans, Gorillas also have unique fingerprints. The closest relatives of gorillas are the chimpanzees and humans. Human gene sequences differ only 1.6% on average from the sequences of corresponding gorilla genes.
Wild male gorillas weigh 136 to 227 kg (300 to 500 lb), while adult females weigh 68–113 kg (150–250 lb).
Adult males are 1.4 to 1.8 m (4 ft 7 in to 5 ft 11 in) tall, with an arm span that stretches from 2.3 to 2.6 m (7 ft 7 in to 8 ft 6 in). Female gorillas are shorter at 1.25 to 1.5 m (4 ft 1 in to 4 ft 11 in), with smaller arm spans.
The tallest gorilla recorded was a 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) silverback with an arm span of 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in), a chest of 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in), and a weight of 219 kg (483 lb), shot in Alimbongo, northern Kivu in May 1938. The heaviest gorilla recorded was a 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) silverback shot in Ambam, Cameroon, which weighed 267 kg (589 lb). Males in captivity can be overweight and reach weights up to 310 kg.
A gorilla’s lifespan is normally between 35 and 40 years, although zoo gorillas may live for 50 years or more. Colo, a female western gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, was the oldest known gorilla at 60 years of age when she died on 17 January 2017. Ozzie was 61 years old at the time of his death in January 2022. The oldest gorilla ever is Fatou (b. 1957), who is still alive at the advanced age of 65 years, birthday on April 13, 2022.
Where do Gorillas Live?
The western gorilla lives in west central Africa, while the eastern gorilla lives in east central Africa. Between the species, and even within the species, gorillas live in a variety of habitats and elevations. Gorilla habitat ranges from montane forest to swampland. Eastern gorillas inhabit montane and submontane forests between 650 and 4,000 m (2,130 and 13,120 ft) above sea level.
Mountain gorillas live in montane forests at the higher end of the elevation range, while eastern lowland gorillas live in submontane forests at the lower end. In addition, eastern lowland gorillas live in montane bamboo forests, as well as lowland forests ranging from 600–3,308 m (1,969–10,853 ft) in elevation. Western gorillas live in both lowland swamp forests and montane forests, at elevations ranging from sea level to 1,600 m (5,200 ft). Western lowland gorillas live in swamp and lowland forests ranging up to 1,600 m (5,200 ft), and Cross River gorillas live in low-lying and submontane forests ranging from 150–1,600 m (490–5,250 ft).
How Intelligent are Gorillas?
Among all primates, humans have the heaviest brain by far, averaging 1,250 g. Second comes the gorilla with a brain weight of approximately 500 g. However, brain size alone is not a reliable indicator of the animal’s mental abilities. If the relationship between brain and body weight is considered, the gorilla comes last in a comparison with the other apes and humans. Whether gorillas are conscious of their own identity is still disputed. Scientific experiments have been conducted where a mirror was presented to the animals and their reaction was observed. The results were contradictory: In some experiments the gorillas were reported to have recognized themselves.
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 all of the great apes are now known to use tools.
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.
Gorilla Fun Facts
- Gorillas are the most human-like primates after Chimps and Bonobos
- Gorilla arms are longer than their legs
- Gorillas are at least six times stronger than humans
- Female Human and Gorilla gestations are similar
- Only a few sub-Saharan countries have wild Gorillas
- Gorillas play an important role in the food chain, helping to disseminate seeds & preserve the area’s flora.