Understand Difference

Gorillas: The Fascinating Differences and Similarities Among Apes

Introduction to Apes and Gorillas

Apes are primates that are closely related to humans and include the great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans. The word “ape” originates from the Old English word “apa” which means simply animal or ape.

The classification of apes is based on their characteristics and genetic similarities with humans.

Classification of Hominoids

There are two main families of hominoids: Hominidae and Hylobatidae. Hominidae includes great apes, such as gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans.

Hylobatidae, on the other hand, includes lesser apes, such as gibbons and siamangs.

Great apes have several similarities such as having no tail, opposable thumbs, larger brain size than lesser apes, and being able to walk upright for short periods of time.

However, they also differ in many ways, including size, social behavior, and environment.

Common Features of Apes

Apes have several common features that set them apart from other primates. These features include agility, intelligence, and a diverse diet.

Apes live in a variety of areas including rainforests, swamps, and mountains.


Apes are the most versatile primates when it comes to movement. Their agility allows them to climb trees, run on the ground, swing from branches, and leap between trees.

They have long and flexible limbs, well-developed back muscles, and grasping hands and feet that allow them to move with ease.


Apes are highly intelligent primates, capable of using tools and solving complex problems. For example, chimpanzees have been known to use sticks as tools to extract insects from beneath tree bark.


Apes are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet consists of a wide variety of foods including leaves, flowers, fruits, insects, and small animals.

Differences in Physical Characteristics within Apes

While apes share several common physical characteristics, they also have differences that set them apart. These differences are apparent in their climbing ability, arm-swinging, forest habitation, and dietary habits.

Climbing Ability

Gibbons are known for their unmatched brachiation, or arm-swinging, skills. They can effortlessly swing from branch to branch, covering up to 40 feet in a single swing.

Gorillas, on the other hand, are slow climbers, preferring to walk or run on the ground.


Orangutans are known for their unique way of moving through trees called quadramanous climbing. This method of climbing involves using their hands and feet, rather than swinging from branches.

Chimpanzees are also known to use this method of climbing.

Forest Habitation

Gorillas are the only apes that inhabit forests that are not tropical. They live in montane and bamboo forests in central and eastern Africa.

Orangutans, on the other hand, prefer to live in dense tropical forests.

Dietary Habits

Orangutans are primarily herbivorous, consuming a diet consisting of fruits, leaves, and bark. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, have a more diverse diet, including insects, small animals, and plant materials.


In conclusion, learning about apes and their characteristics is both entertaining and informative. Understanding the differences and similarities of apes can help us to appreciate their importance in the ecosystem and their place in the animal kingdom.

Apes are intelligent, agile, and diverse creatures that deserve our respect and protection. Their power and grace have been a source of inspiration for many people throughout history, and they continue to captivate us with their majestic presence.

Differences between Gorillas and other Apes

Gorillas are among the largest and most fascinating primates in the animal kingdom. They are known for their incredible size, strength, and gentle nature.

However, despite their similarities to other apes, gorillas have several important differences that set them apart from other primates.

Body Structure

Gorillas share many structural similarities with humans, such as having no tail and opposable thumbs. However, unlike humans and other apes, gorillas have shorter legs and longer arms.

Their hands and feet are broader and stronger for climbing trees.

Monkeys, on the other hand, have tails, different toe structure, and are quadrupedal, meaning they move on all fours.

Gorillas and other great apes are bipedal, meaning they can walk on two legs for short periods of time.

Physical Attributes and Traits

Gorillas are the largest of all the apes. They can weigh over 400 lbs and grow up to 6 feet tall.

They are also the most sexually dimorphic of all the great apes. Gorillas have two subspecies: the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla.

The eastern gorilla has longer hair and a more slender nose, while the western gorilla has shorter hair and a wider nose. Additionally, male gorillas develop a distinguishing mark on the top of their head, called a sagittal crest.

The size of the sagittal crest is used to determine a gorilla’s health, strength and dominance.

The hair color of gorillas can also vary, ranging from black to brown to reddish-brown.

Hair texture can also vary based on subspecies and region. For example, gorillas from wetter climates may have frizzier hair to help shed water.

Gorillas also have distinctive facial features. Their face is wider and flatter than other great apes, and their jaw protrudes more than that of chimpanzees and orangutans.

Genetic Similarities to Humans

Gorillas share a significant amount of genetic material with humans. In fact, humans and gorillas share approximately 98% of their DNA.

This genetic similarity is one of the reasons why gorillas are often used in medical research. Gorillas have 24 pairs of chromosomes, two fewer than humans.

However, the order of the genes on these chromosomes is nearly identical between the two species. This similarity is what makes it possible to study gorillas to learn more about human diseases such as cancer and HIV.

Gorillas and humans also share significant similarities in terms of their social behavior. Gorillas live in groups called troops, which are led by a dominant male called a silverback.

Females play an important role in social relations within the troop and often have close relationships with their offspring. In conclusion, while gorillas share many similarities with other primates, they have important differences that set them apart.

From structural differences to genetic similarities with humans, gorillas continue to captivate us with their unique attributes and fascinating nature. By studying gorillas, we can learn more about ourselves and the importance of protecting these incredible animals.

In conclusion, gorillas are fascinating primates that differ from other apes in several ways, including body structure, physical traits, and genetic similarities to humans. Their impressive size and gentle nature make them unique, and studying their behavior provides valuable insights into our own social behavior.

As we continue to learn more about gorillas, it’s important to protect them and their habitats to ensure their survival. By appreciating the differences and similarities of gorillas to other apes, we can gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom and our place in it.

It’s our responsibility to protect these incredible animals for future generations.

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