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Essay/Term paper: Gorilla research paper

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science Research Papers

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Common name- Gorilla
Scientific name- Gorilla gorilla
class- mammalia
order- primata
family- pongidae
genus- gorilla
The gorillas live mainly in coastal West Africa in the Congo, Zaire, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Gorillas live in the rain forest. They usually live on the ground but build nest in trees to sleep in. Gorilla troops keep a 15-20 square mile range which often overlaps the range of other troops. There are three different kinds of gorillas. The eastern lowland gorilla the western lowland and the mountain gorilla. They are herbivores and eat only wild celery, roots, tree bark pulp, fruit, stems of many plants and bamboo shoots. They spend nearly half their day eating.
The destruction of their habitat and destruction are the two great threats to the gorillas. The places where they are found are poor and densely populated. The land that is set aside for gorillas is being taken over by agriculture. The wire traps that poachers set out for antelope usually end up catching gorillas instead. People kill them for their heads and hands as trophies. The western lowland gorilla is listed as an endangered species.
The physical characteristics of a gorilla are, the male may be from a height of 5.5 ft and a weight of about 400 lbs. The female can be as tall as 5 ft. and weight almost about half the weight of the male. Their skull is pretty much similar to ours, but their bones are thicker. The gorillas spine doesn't have the curvatures we do so it can not stand up straight. The skin on them is black and they have very coarse hair which may look it but is not quite black. Their life span is about 45 years in captivity and about 35 years in the wild
There are three different types of gorillas in the groups. There is the silverback male. Silverbacks are the adult males. They get silver hair on their back as part of their growing process, just like when boys grow up and get mustaches
and beards. The silverback is the leader of the group. He is the father to all of the young in his group, and he likes to play with the older ones. Sometimes there are two Silverbacks in the group, and they share the responsibilities of leadership, but one is usually more powerful than the other. and then there are the young and their mothers.
Gorillas build makeshifts each night after a day of looking for the plants and berries that they eat. The females usually sleep in trees on platforms made of small branches and leaves, while the older male sleeps on drier grass at the base of the tree. Gorillas make 15 recognizable sounds that have specific meanings. A hooting sound is used for an alarm or to note an unusual event. Other calls are sharp grunts for giving discipline and low calls are used for moving to a new nesting area. When gorillas beat their chest they are usually showing intimidation or a display of power. The gorilla has no natural enemies but if an intruder appears, the young and the female go to safer ground. If the intruder runs away it will be caught and killed, but if it just stands there it will not be harmed. Fights between gorillas rarely ever happen and are resolved through threatening gestures.
The intelligence of the gorilla is still being explored. The gorilla shows more persistence and memory in solving a problem and is more likely to perform a task out of interest unlike its nearest relative, the chimpanzee which will only do it if he gets an award. Gorillas can also identify geometric shapes more correctly. The gorilla, KoKo, was taught how to do sign language and was taught almost over 1000 different signs. He was taught how to ask for things and how to tell them if something was wrong with him.
When baby gorillas are born, they are only about 4 lb. After a few weeks,
they are able to hang onto their mother's belly by themselves. They stay
with their mother and drink her milk for 4 or 5 years. That's when she has
another baby, but the older one still stays with her for 4 or 5 more years, when they reach early adulthood. Young adult males are called blackbacks, because they haven't yet grown silver hair on their backs. Both young adult males and females will usually leave their group, although they sometimes stay.
Until the gorillas habitat can be saved, zoos are working to keep some of the population of the gorillas in captivity. There are recently over 325 lowland gorillas in north America zoos. Since the first birth of a gorilla in captivity in the year 1956, tremendous amounts of research has been done on the habitat and nutrition requirements for a successful breeding. This research has been done on both wild gorillas and ones that are in captivity. Zoos are also let7uing the baby gorillas be raised by their own mothers instead of being hand raised so that they can better learn the natural gorilla behavior.


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