Gorillas Caught in Very Human Act
By Tuan C. Nguyen, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 13 February 2008 09:43 am ET
Gorillas have been caught on camera for the first time performing
Humans and bonobos were the only primates thought to mate in this
manner. And while researchers have observed wild gorillas engaged in
such an act, it had never been photographed.
“Our current knowledge of wild western gorillas is very limited, and
this report provides information on various aspects of their sexual
behavior,” said Thomas Breuer of the Max Planck Institute for
Evolutionary Anthropology. “It is fascinating to see similarities
between gorilla and human sexual behavior demonstrated by our observation.
The photographs were taken as part of a study conducted at
Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo.
The female in the photograph, Leah, also made news in 2005 when she
became the first of her kind spotted using tools. Researchers watched
her use a stick to test the depth of a pool of water before wading into it.
“Understanding the behavior of our cousins the great apes sheds light on
the evolution of behavioral traits in our own species and our
ancestors,” said Breuer, who led the study. “It is also interesting that
this same adult female has been noted for innovative behaviors before.”