Earth Science News  





. Study Garners Unique Mating Photos Of Wild Gorillas

Taken by researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, this image is one of a series showing western gorillas mating 'face-to-face' in Mbeli Bai in the Republic of Congo. These images are the first capturing such behavior in wild gorillas. Credit: Thomas Breuer - WCS/MPI-EVA
by Staff Writers
Leipzig, Germany (SPX) Feb 13, 2008
Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have released the first known photographs of gorillas performing face-to-face copulation in the wild. This is the first time that western gorillas have been observed and photographed mating in such a manner.

The photographs were part of a study conducted in a forest clearing in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo that appeared in a recent issue of The Gorilla Gazette.

"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 Thomas Breuer, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and WCS and lead author of the study. "It is also interesting that this same adult female has been noted for innovative behaviors before."

The western lowland gorilla is listed as Critically Endangered as a result of hunting by humans, habitat destruction, and health threats such as the Ebola virus.

The female gorilla in the photograph, nicknamed "Leah" by researchers, made history in 2005 when she was observed using tools - another never-before-seen behavior for her kind in the wild. Breuer and others witnessed Leah using a stick to test the depth of a pool of water before wading into it in Mbeli Bai, where researchers have been monitoring the gorilla population since 1995.

Researchers say that few primates mate in a face-to-face position, known technically as ventro-ventral copulation; most primate species copulate in what's known as the dorso-ventral position, with both animals facing in the same direction. Besides humans, only bonobos have been known to frequently employ ventro-ventral mating positions.

On a few occasions, mountain gorillas have been observed in ventro-ventral positions, but never photographed. Western gorillas in captivity have been known to mate face-to-face, but not in the wild, which makes this observation a noteworthy first.

"Our current knowledge of wild western gorillas is very limited, and this report provides information on various aspects of their sexual behavior," added Breuer, whose study is funded by the Brevard Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Max Planck Society, Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Toronto Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society and Woodland Park Zoo.

"We can't say how common this manner of mating is, but it has never been observed with western gorillas in the forest. It is fascinating to see similarities between gorilla and human sexual behavior demonstrated by our observation."

Scientists estimate that western gorillas have declined 60 percent in recent years due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, and Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, which is the only organization working to protect all four gorilla sub-species (also including the Cross River Gorilla, the mountain gorilla, and the Grauer's gorilla), has been studying gorillas and other wildlife in the Republic of Congo since the 1980s. In 1993, the Congolese Government, working in tandem with technical assistance from WCS, established Nouabale-Ndoki National Park.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Wildlife Conservation Society
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Sumatran Tigers Are Being Sold Into Extinction Piece By Piece
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 13, 2008
Laws protecting the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger have failed to prevent tiger body parts being openly sold in Indonesia, according to a TRAFFIC report. Tiger body parts, including canine teeth, claws, skin pieces, whiskers and bones, were on sale in 10 percent of the 326 retail outlets surveyed during 2006 in 28 cities and towns across Sumatra.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Robotic Rats To Aid In Rescue Missions
  • Monitoring Asia-Pacific Disasters From Space
  • Millions brave China transport chaos as more bad weather looms
  • Tajikistan rations power supplies to capital in big freeze

  • Fossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe
  • New Greenland Ice Sheet Data Will Impact Climate Change Models
  • Botanists see winter fading away in U.K.
  • Studying Rivers For Clues To Global Carbon Cycle

  • Indonesia To Develop New EO Satellite
  • Russia To Launch Space Project To Monitor The Arctic In 2010
  • New Radar Satellite Technique Sheds Light On Ocean Current Dynamics
  • SPACEHAB Subsidiary Wins NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Contract

  • Analysis: Nabucco gets boost
  • UAE open for Iran business as US seeks to choke Tehran
  • Hot Oxygen Atoms On Titanium Dioxide Motivated By More Than Just Temperature
  • Geotimes Investigates Iraq's Oil Prospects

  • Penn Researchers Discover New Target For Preventing And Treating Flu
  • Globe-Trotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases
  • Risk of meningitis epidemic in Burkina Faso increases
  • Analysis: NATO begins pandemic monitoring

  • Sumatran Tigers Are Being Sold Into Extinction Piece By Piece
  • Study Garners Unique Mating Photos Of Wild Gorillas
  • Dartmouth Researchers Find The Root Of The Evolutionary Emergence Of Vertebrates
  • King penguins could be wiped out by climate change: study

  • SKorea to scrap waste dump sites in Japan-controlled waters
  • New Research Offers Prioritization Plan For Reducing Nutrient Pollution In Feeder Streams
  • Court Rules EPA Violated The Law By Evading Required Power Plant Mercury Reductions
  • Japan suspects dumpling contamination at Chinese factory

  • Human Deaths From Shark Attacks Hit 20-Year Low Last Year
  • Mummy Lice Found In Peru May Give New Clues About Human Migration
  • Unravelling The North West's Viking Past
  • Urban Ecology: Taking Measure Of The Coming Megacity's Impact

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement