Monkey business
April 23, 2019 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Two gorillas have been photographed posing for a relaxed selfie with the rangers who rescued them as babies... Because they've grown up with the rangers who rescued them, they are imitating the humans and standing on two legs is their way of "learning to be human beings".
posted by growabrain (30 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
BGE (big gorilla energy)
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:57 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]


I love the way the one to the right seems to be leaning in to make sure his face is in the shot.
posted by tavella at 5:04 PM on April 23 [12 favorites]


I wondered how these guys were standing so casually next to gorillas. Been seeing these photos for a few days now.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:05 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


They look like they have their hands in their pants pockets!
posted by Countess Elena at 5:14 PM on April 23 [16 favorites]


I LOVE this!!!
posted by greermahoney at 5:20 PM on April 23


This has been driving me crazy everywhere I see this - the gorillas are female. Commenters on every platform almost exclusively refer to them with male pronouns.
posted by double bubble at 5:21 PM on April 23 [36 favorites]


Love this, can’t wait for their debut album.
posted by snofoam at 5:37 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


They swear it isn't photoshopped, but, speaking as a guilty person, that sure looks photoshopped.
posted by acrasis at 5:55 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Look at you, standing there on your hind legs, like a couple of Rory Calhouns.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:11 PM on April 23 [23 favorites]


The photo is real
posted by blob at 6:42 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


The gorillas were just two and four months old at the time.

Man social media is getting to kids younger and younger
posted by mundo at 6:47 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


This has been driving me crazy everywhere I see this - the gorillas are female. Commenters on every platform almost exclusively refer to them with male pronouns.

Wow even the males in the Gorilla world experience privilege
posted by mundo at 6:52 PM on April 23


Bah, I should have known that double bubble, the only near-adult male in the mountain gorilla sanctuary died suddenly a couple of years ago. Cultural programming is strong.
posted by tavella at 7:19 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


This is the birth of a whole new category: the PhotoKong.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:23 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


The one on the left is uncannily like my body shape and stance, right down to the flat-foot placement.
posted by scruss at 8:25 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


In addition to the standing posture, they are also bring their awareness to the object being held in the hand of their caretakers as something significant to focus on, which is extraordinary conceptually.
posted by effluvia at 9:11 PM on April 23 [17 favorites]


Cynic that I am, I'd love to see video and not just a single photograph.
posted by milnak at 9:32 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Male gorilla sexual maturity is at 13-15 years and females become fertile around 10/12-13+ (captivity minimum age vs. observation in the wild - it looks like there may be social defenses against getting pregnant at younger ages in social groups), so it's not a far extrapolation that female gorillas may have similar development trends as humans - and a potentially parallel emotional/ psychological development trend, too.

2 and 4 months might translate into maybe triple+ that amount of developmental time at very early ages (humans are abberrationally slow developers) into maybe a 1 or 2 yo.

That part feels weird; that hominid apes raised from birth in captivity mimics their human caretakers' is not really surprising. They're also awful big for 2 and 4 months - I think there might have been a translation/ editing error and it's 2 and 4 years for their ages.

So maybe more like a 4 yo mimicking her older 8yo sister who's mimicking humans.
posted by porpoise at 9:34 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


The article says the gorillas' mothers were both killed in July 2007, so that would make them 11 or 12 years old.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:57 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my read of the linked story is that these are gorilla tweens. Makes sense they are all about showing up looking cute af in selfies.
posted by potrzebie at 10:01 PM on April 23 [8 favorites]


so that would make them 11 or 12 years old - ah, I read a different article earlier today and didn't absorb the ages and and took an above comment out of context - yes, this is far less egregious and makes perfect sense.

But I used to be a molecular neurophysiologist and, wow, it's amazing how well conserved core proteins in the brain involved in synapses - forming them, equipping them, changing their behaviour - are even at the phylum differences level. There's also a lot of convergent evolution going on, too.

Small changes can make very big differences, especially when it comes to brains.
posted by porpoise at 10:34 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]




Here are some more details about Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage, where these ladies are living currently. Virunga National Park is an incredibly important place in the world, and it's incredibly dangerous to be a park ranger there. 175 rangers have been killed in the last ten years, mostly due to Mai Mai activity, and spillover/continued instability from ongoing conflict in eastern DRC.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:48 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


The article says the gorillas' mothers were both killed in July 2007, so that would make them 11 or 12 years old.

Sorry my mistake. Skimmed the article too fast. You're right, they were 2 and 4 months at the time if their mothers' deaths.
posted by mundo at 7:20 AM on April 24


It's amazing how-- when looking at this photo-- some part of my brain feels compelled to respond to these guys (or girls) as if they were human beings, just based on the fact that they're standing upright.
posted by coffeeand at 8:27 AM on April 24


Cynic that I am, I'd love to see video and not just a single photograph.

There are a few gorillas that have been know to stand upright and even walk like people in zoos around the world. This standing is totally in their wheelhouse of possible behaviors. Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

(I assume the standing is part of your quibble. If not, carry on.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:43 AM on April 24


that article started cute, and took a REAL dark turn at the end, no?
posted by rude.boy at 10:05 AM on April 24


I got to see the gorillas in Rwanda when I was working there (basically at the border with DRC). I was super lucky when a playful female came running by me and gave me a swat on the head. The silverback didn't seem to like that though and came towards the group, and I couldn't back up into the group behind me fast enough. It was clear that if he wanted to he could pick me up by the head and pop my head like a grape. I'm glad it didn't end that way but boy he was big.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:06 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I wonder how long they can keep standing/walking upright, and if it hurts their backs after a while.
posted by Fuchsoid at 1:21 PM on April 24


I don't like the looks of those teenagers.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:18 PM on April 24


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