How Intelligent Are Gorillas, How Smart is a Mountain Gorilla?
Gorillas are highly intelligent. They don’t use tools as much as chimpanzees do, but gorillas have been seen using sticks to gauge the depth of water, bamboo as ladders to help infants climb, and recently gorillas have been seen for the first time using sticks to eat ants without being stung.
Another sign of intelligence is the gorilla’s impressive communication abilities, and they’ve been recorded making some twenty five distinct vocalizations.
Use of tools in gorillas—Gorilla intelligence
Are gorillas smart? Gorilla intelligence is often shown through their ability to fashion natural materials into tools that help them in different ways.
Tool use by a gorilla was first reported in 2005. This involved western lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo, one of whom appeared to use a stick to gauge the depth of the river while crossing it. Another gorilla was observed using a trunk of a dead shrub to cross the swampy ground.
Also, a western lowland gorilla at Buffalo Zoological Gardens in 2009 used a bucket to collect water. In an experiment, 3 adult female gorillas and 1 adult male gorilla were given 5-gallon buckets near a standing pool. Two of the females filled the buckets with water. This is the first record of gorillas using tools to drink in zoos.
Also, gorillas, unlike chimpanzees, tend to sleep in nests on the ground. Nest-building by great apes is now considered to be not just animal architecture, but as an important instance of tool use.
Communication in gorillas—Are gorillas intelligent?
Gorillas impressive communication ability is another sign of the intelligence among these great apes. They’ve been recorded making some 25 different vocalizations to communicate alarm, distress, aggression, contentment, and group coordination.
Some gorillas in captivity are known to comprehend simple sign language. Researchers turned their attention to communicating with gorillas via sign language in the mid-1970s.
One of the world’s most famous gorillas called Koko was born in San Francisco Zoo on July 4, 1971. Francine Patterson officially started working with Koko on July 12, 1972, with the goal of teaching her sign language. At the start, Patterson focused on teaching Koko gorilla only 3 basic signs: “food“, “drink”, and “more”.
Koko would learn signs through observation and from Patterson or one of her colleagues molding Koko’s hands into the correct sign.
In the couple weeks before that, Koko had been using gestures that seemed like attempts at the signs taught, but were deemed as coincidental and random and not intended for the actual purpose. After 2 days they begun the more formal routine, Koko started responding constantly with the sign “food” when persuaded to.
Within the first 90 days, Koko made 16 different combinations of signs and was also starting to form simple questions by using eye contact and different positioning of signs by the body. Koko the gorilla mastered more than 1,000 signs and was said to be able to connect up to eight words together to form a statement expressing wants, needs, thoughts, or simple responses.
if you are to trek gorillas in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park or the Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.
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