Our Cousin the Gorilla

1577 Words7 Pages
The gorilla, like us humans, are one of the few living representatives of the superfamily Homonidea remaining on our planet, as many have gone extinct. The gorilla is a mammal and belongs under the order of Primates, genus Gorilla, and the scientific classification of the species is Gorilla beringei, which was first described by Paul Matschie in 1903. There are two subspecies of Gorilla beringei; the eastern gorilla, classified as subspecies Gorilla beringei, and the western gorilla classified as subspecies Gorilla gorilla. The gorilla is an iconic animal because their ecology resembles humans’, as does their physiology and morphology. Their genetic similarity with humans makes them a great species to help unravel our very own evolutionary history. In addition helps increase our understanding of the biological richness of the planet. Awareness of the gorilla is important because it is an endangered species. All species of Gorilla beringei are situated in the Congo Basin, an area in Africa that spreads over six countries; this is the world’s second largest tropical forest. There is a high demand for many different resources from the Congo Basin, which poses many threats on Gorilla’s and all other wildlife there. By examining the genetic similarities between humans and gorillas, the symbolism associated with them, and the importance of gorilla studies for our gains in evolutionary and biological knowledge, we can appreciate gorillas as a whole and emphasize the importance of putting our utmost efforts into their conservation. The gorilla species is often associated with the aggressive, man-eating “King Kong” stereotype that has been embraced by Hollywood since the 1900’s. This stereotype originated when hunters returned from Africa and fabricated stories of these so-called ferocious beasts (S. Foskett, 2003). In reality, gorillas are gentle, calm species despite
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