Gorillas and Humans: 10 Facts on Why We are More Similar Than We Think.
1. Gorillas are 98.67% human: This one speaks for itself – humans and gorillas share a strikingly similar genetic code.
2. Gorillas maintain families: A gorilla family averages ten members and contains a number of females, children and usually one or two large, silverback males. The family stays bound for life and spends most of its time together eating, sleeping, playing and relaxing as well as building nests to sleep in.
3. Gorillas have B.O: The silverback male gorilla, the leader of the family, emits a strong body odor when he is excited and to notify other gorillas of his location. Humans are also known to secrete a strange smell from time to time. Perhaps we should lay off the deodorant and perfumes and embrace the practicality of scent to indicate both our presence and emotions.
4. Gorillas have similar senses: The gorilla’s sense of smell, eyesight and taste are very similar to that of the human. However, while humans have been known to enjoy the taste of meat, gorillas are purely vegetarian.
5. Gorillas have human-like hands: The gorilla’s hand looks almost identical to a human hand, with five fingers, including a thumb. Additionally, a gorilla has unique fingerprints just like humans and other primates.
6. Gorillas suffer from the same diseases as humans: The gorilla can contract human diseases including pneumonia and sinusitis. The first case of pneumonia was observed in a gorilla in Rwanda in 1988. Therefore, it is important that both gorillas and humans undergo vaccinations if they are to be in constant contact with one another.
7. Gorillas make many sounds to communicate: The gorilla can make a variety of sounds to communicate and to express emotion just like humans. The gorilla can laugh, chuckle, cry and scream as well as make a sound called a “belch vocalization” to indicate its location in a densely foliaged area.
8. Gorillas have a similar upbringing: The gestation period for a female gorilla is 8.5 months, while a female human’s is 9 months. The baby gorilla will breast feed for up two years. Additionally, to display control and grab the attention of her infants, the female gorilla will clap her hands. This child-rearing technique sounds eerily similar to that of my own mother.
9. Gorillas have a warning display: While humans have the tendency to clench their fists or cross their arms when they have been provoked. Male gorillas will often beat their chests with their palms to indicate irritation or to ward-off unwelcome visitors. Two clashing males will often stand, face-to-face, and glower at each other until one backs off. Sound familiar?
10. Gorillas’ biggest predator is man: Man has hunted the gorilla as both a means of food and for fun. However, the biggest threat towards the gorilla has been the degradation of its natural habitat through clear cutting in order to create farmland. Both the violence and environmental degradation inflicted by humans on both its own race and the animal world have resulted in the human becoming the biggest predator for all. There are approximately only 720 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild today.