Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)
|Range||West Central Africa|
Gorilla constitute the eponymous name Gorillas, is a genus of largest extant genus of primates by physical size. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The genus is divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas, and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees (including bonobos).
Gorillas' natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. 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 (7,200–14,100 ft). ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.
Evolution and Species
The closest relatives of gorillas are chimpanzees and humans, all of the Homininae having diverged from a common ancestor about 7 million years ago. Human gene sequences differ only 1.6% on average from the sequences of corresponding gorilla genes, but there is further difference in how many copies each gene has. Until recently, gorillas were considered to be a single species, with three subspecies: the western lowland gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. There is now agreement that there are two species with two subspecies each. More recently, a third subspecies has been claimed to exist in one of the species. The separate species and subspecies developed from a single type of gorilla during the Ice Age, when their forest habitats shrank and became isolated from each other.
Primatologists continue to explore the relationships between various gorilla populations. The species and subspecies listed here are the ones upon which most scientists agree.
Western Gorilla (Savage, 1847) (Gorilla gorilla) Western Lowland Gorilla (Savage, 1847) (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Cross River Gorilla (Matschie, 1904) (Gorilla gorilla diehli) Eastern Gorilla (Matschie, 1903) (Gorilla beringei) Mountain Gorilla (Matschie, 1903) (Gorilla beringei beringei) Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Matschie, 1914) (Gorilla beringei graueri)