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Types of Gorillas

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: August 22, 2017
Types of Gorillas

The gorilla is the the world's largest primate and it is an animal that has been the subject of numerous investigations because their DNA is the same as human DNA. We share around 97-98% of our DNA with them! In addition, another gorilla behavior that is similar to humans is that it is the only animal that uses tools like sticks and stones to obtain food.

Its robust and strong appearance must not be confused with their actual behavior, as gorillas are vegetarians. They are peaceful and they care greatly for their environment.

If you want to discover more about the world's great apes, keep on reading in this article on types of gorillas.

You may also be interested in: Dietary Habits of the Gorilla

Species and subspecies of gorillas

There are only two species of gorillas worldwide: The eastern gorilla and the western gorilla. Both species live mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, but they can be found in many different areas, distinguishing low-lying areas and mountainous areas of high altitude.

Each species of gorilla in your group contains two subspecies, see this classification:

Western gorilla

  • Western Lowland gorilla
  • Cross River gorilla

Eastern gorilla

  • Mountain gorilla
  • Eastern Lowland gorilla

This classification is the only valid one as it is the only method that has been supported by a scientific consensus. However, some have proposed a third subspecies within the group of eastern gorilla, the Bwindi mountain gorilla, which still possesses no scientific name or Latin name.

Types of Gorillas - Species and subspecies of gorillas

What makes these species of gorillas different?

For a long time it was believed that there was only a single species of gorillas and this is because the differences between eastern and western gorillas are minimal as both animals are very similar in appearance, behavior and feeding habits.

The only differences that can be seen are virtually insignificant and only due to genetic factors:

  • The size and morphology of the nose
  • The sound emitted to communicate when in droves

A final difference is that the Eastern gorilla is usually larger that the Western gorilla.

Types of Gorillas - What makes these species of gorillas different?

Gorillas, endangered primates

Regrettably, both species of gorillas are endangered. In fact, the Eastern mountain gorilla is the most endangered subspecies because its numbers have dwindled to a dangerously low level.

The gorilla has no natural predators. Therefore, the risk of extinction is purely down to the destruction of their natural habitat and many human behaviors that endanger their survival, such as hunting for bush meat. That's why it is important to raise awareness to prevent the disappearance of this species that is very much part of our human family.

Another factor contributing to the risk of extinction for gorillas is that these animals are devoted exclusively to their young for approximately six years. Therefore, the birth rate is very low and population recovery ends up becoming a truly complex issue.

Types of Gorillas - Gorillas, endangered primates

Check out our article on the dietary habits of the gorilla.

If you want to read similar articles to Types of Gorillas, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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