NameInstructorAnthropology DateIntroductionHuman evolution is one of the most captivating topics in anthropological studies.
It involves comparison of humans and other several primates or apes which include; Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orang-utan and Gorillas. The most recent and controversial debate on human evolution comes from the comparison of genomes of humans and the other primates. The comparison has proven that humans are related to Gorillas and Chimpanzees with their genomes having a similarity of 97% – 98.
67% (Hannahz, 1). This essay aims at giving a detailed description on Gorillas and how they are closely related to humans. Studying and revealing more facts about Gorillas in this essay may be important in gaining more insights on how man is related to such an ape.
This will help in answering some of the questions raised by anthropologists on the genome closeness between Gorillas and humans. In addition to this, the facts discussed in this essay may help in explaining why Gorillas are becoming an endangered species and probably give solutions to this. Nearest relatives and brief classification of gorillas Just like humans and chimpanzees, gorillas are members of the family group Hominidae and are all known as primates. According to a recent research Richard Durbin-a geneticist in the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, there are several groups of gorilla genes that are similar in every way to the human genes (Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e. V., 2018).
In the study, more than 11000 genomes were compared between humans and gorillas and certain genes were found to differ by 1.6%. This gives a similarity percent of 98.4% between human and gorilla genomes. The same study done comparing the genes of gorillas and chimpanzees revealed that the genes had a 98.2% similarity (Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e. V., 2018).
Probably this is the reason why they are all estimated to be closely related and to have a common ancestor. It is also argued that regardless of chimpanzees being the closest relatives to humans based on genome similarity, gorillas resemble human beings in many ways.The distinguishing factor however is that, all the primates have a different Genus group with humans belonging to genus Homo, chimpanzees belonging to genus Pan and gorillas belonging in genus Gorilla. Focusing on gorillas, the genus Gorilla is further divided into two species namely Gorilla beringei and Gorilla gorilla. It is important to note also that from the gorilla species, there is two subspecies for each of them.
Gorilla beringei has Gorilla beringei beringei and Gorilla beringei graueri as subspecies while Gorilla gorilla has Gorilla gorilla diehli and Gorilla gorilla gorilla as the subspecies (Cawthon, 2005). From the four subspecies we have common names; mountain gorilla, western lowland gorilla, eastern gorilla and eastern lowland gorilla. The mountain gorilla is the largest and rarest. It has a broad chest and considered very strong. The male mountain gorillas develop a streak of silver hair on their backs when they mature and are called “silverbacks”. Gorillas are known to be the largest of the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, Orangutans and gorillas) and have a lifespan of about 53 years (WorldAnimalFoundation.
com, 2018).Gorilla habitatGorillas live in tropical rain forests of Africa which are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda. These forests are known to have Hagenia-Hypericum woodland with a relatively open canopy and extremely dense herbaceous undergrowth plants (UNEP, 3).