Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Gorilla (I. Geoffroy, 1852)

Currently, a monotypic hominoid genus to which the largest living primate, the gorilla, belongs.

See Gorilla gorilla. Gorilla beringei Matschie, 1903: see Gorilla gorilla. Gorilla gorilla: gorilla; three subspecies currently recognized. Hominoid that prefers dense primary and secondary forest and lowland swamp in a discontinuous distribution in western and central Africa. Sexually dimorphic in canines, sagittal crest, and body mass with females weighing between 70 and 100 kg and males 150-200 kg. Terrestrial; diurnal; shows specialized quadrupedal locomotion called knuckle-walking. Dental formula: 2.1.2.3; diet predominantly frugivory. Live in small polygynous bands containing a mature silverback male, several younger males, and several adult females with offspring; males are the resident sex. The three subspecies of this taxon are Gorilla gorilla gorilla, the western lowland gorilla, Gorilla gorilla graueri, the eastern lowland gorilla, and Gorilla gorilla beringei, the mountain gorilla. This taxon is in flux: if Gorilla beringei Matschie, 1903 re-emerges as a valid species (as proposed by the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group in 2000), then the two eastern subspecies that would be referred to that taxon would be Gorilla beringei beringei, the Virunga and Bwindi mountain gorillas, and Gorilla beringei graueri, the eastern lowland or Grauer’s gorilla. In the IUCN/ SSC scheme the remaining western subspecies, Gorilla gorilla gorilla, would be split into two taxa: Gorilla gorilla gorilla, the western lowland gorilla proper, and Gorilla gorilla diehli, the Cross River gorilla.

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