Gorillas and Humans: 10 Facts on Why We are More Similar Than We Think.

Updated on June 9, 2016

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.

A Family of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.
A Family of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.

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.


A Gorilla Hand.
A Gorilla Hand.

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.  

A Mother and Baby Mountain Gorilla.
A Mother and Baby Mountain Gorilla.

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.


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    • profile image

      Hayley 3 months ago

      Yalls website really helped me with my gorilla homework.

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      Bob 4 months ago


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      durpy spider-man 236 12 months ago

      that was really interesting i didn't know some of the things you spoke of so it really educated me.

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      Gemenai 2 years ago

      " Spoiler Alert!" i don't think that we used to be monkeys.

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      IknowStuff 5 years ago

      They are not our ancestors. You wouldn't call your cousin your ancestor, but you guys are closely related, because you share a common ancestor (grandparents). We have a common ancestor with gorillas that is very recent in evolutionary terms.

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      alcofunk 5 years ago

      Look into a cats eyes, there's nothing but a blank look, look into a gorillas eyes and you can almost see them thinking, wondering and observing, very clever animals, love them, us humans can learn from our ancestors!

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      Vincent 6 years ago

      Mountain Gorillas are our ancestors.

    • profile image

      bert 6 years ago


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      GorillaGirl 6 years ago

      COOL! I am very fond of gorillas

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      Sequoja02 6 years ago

      Hope my wife know when my eye get red and I am smell. L-)

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      996 6 years ago

      nice gorillas

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      IndoVillas 6 years ago

      Great hub! Very Interesting, I got to get my hand on that documentary film.

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      MarZ 8 years ago

      um fine but that does not convince me that we humans evolutionised from them though =)

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Very interesting topic! Thanks for sharing...I think I am in the mood for a banana now...LOL!

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank you - Great Hub. I am very fond of Gorillas. My ex-wife and I had one in the house for a while...many years ago. The BO thing is interesting. A colleague of mine rubbed a 'T' shirt in a male Gorillas armpits and presented it as an 'unknown' to a number of women. Several thought the smell 'sexy'. Perhaps you are right...we should wash less.

      The DNA thing...you are right. They are very close to us, less than 2% away. Probably what is more of a worry, to me at least, is that we share 50% with bananas ;-)

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 8 years ago from carthage ill

      beautiful hub work thanks