GORIL'LA (troglodytes gorilla), a great African ape, generally referred by naturalists to the same genus with the chimpanzee, although prof. Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire has attempted to establish for it a separate genus. It has received the name by which it is now known in consequence of its being supposed to he the same animal which is men tioned in the " Periplus" of Hanno the Carthaginian navigator, who visited the tropical parts of the west coast of Africa about the year 350 Re., although it is by no means certain that the gorilla of Hanno is not the chimpanzee. Vague accounts of apes of great size, and of which very wonderful stories were told, were from time to time brought from Western Africa; but it was not till 1847 that the gorilla became really known to naturalists, when a skull was sent to Dr. Savage of Boston by Dr. Wilson, an American missionary on the Gaboon river. Since that time, not only have skeletons and skins been obtained in sufficient number for scientific examination, but information has also been procured concerning the habits of the animal in its native haunts. The accounts of the gorilla given in. Du Chailln's Eb'plorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa (London, 1861) are regarded by the highest scientific authorities, and par ticularly by Owen, as in the main trustworthy, notwithstanding all the doubt that has been cast over that traveler's narrative of his adventures; and there is little doubt that they are in accordance with all that we have learned from other sources, and with the inferences to be deduced from the dentition and osteology of the animal.
The gorilla differs from the chimpanzee in its greater size; the height of an adult male in an erect posture being commonly about five ft..six in. or five ft. eight in., although there is reason to think that it sometimes exceeds six feet. Its strength appears also to be greater in proportion to its size, and even its skeMton indicates very great muscular power both in the jaws and limbs. The bony ridges in the skull above the eyes are extremely prominent; and the skull of the male also exhibits a large occipital ridge on the top of the head. The brain is small. The nasal bones project more than in the chimpanzee, thus producing an approximation to the human face, in a somewhat prominent nose. The lower part of the face, however, projects very much; and besides that the teeth do not form a perfectly uninterrupted series as in man, the canine teeth are very large, particularly in the male, projecting considerably more than an inch from the upper jaw, much larger in proportion than in the chimpanzee; although, on the other hand, the molars bear a greater proportion to the incisors, and thus approach more to the human character. The breadth at the shoulders is great. There are thirteen pair of ribs. pelvis approaches the human form more than in any other ape. The arms are not long as in the chimpanzee, but reach nearly to the knee in the erect position. The lower limbs, although shorter in proportion than in man, are longer than in the chimpanzee. The foot is less turned inward than in the chimpanzee, and is better fitted for walking on the ground; the great toe is a true thumb, as in the chimpanzee, stand ing out from the foot at an angle of about 60°, and is remarkably large and strong. The
hands or paws of the fore limbs are also remarkable for their great size, their thickness, and their strength.' The fingers are short, but the circumference of the middle finger at the first joint is sometimes more than six inches.—The gorilla has a black skin, covered with short dark-gray hair, reddish brown on the head; the hair on the arms longer, ° that on the arm from the shoulder to the elbow pointing downwards, and that on the fore-arm pointing upwards to the elbow, where a tuft is formed. The face is covered with hair, but the chest is bare. There is scarcely any appearance of neck. The mouth is wide, and no red appears on the lips. The eyes are deeply sunk beneath the project ing ridge of the skull, giving to the countenance a savage scowl, the aspect of ferocity being aggravated by the frequent exhibition of the teeth. The belly is very large and prominent; in accordance with which character, the gorilla is represented as a most voracious feeder, its food being exclusively vegetable—partly obtained by climbing trees, and. partly on the ground. It is very fond of fruits and of sonic leaves, as the fleshy .parts of the leaves of the pine-apple; and employs its great strength of jaws and teeth in tearing vegetable substances and cracking nuts which would require a heavy blow of a hammer. It is not gregarious in its habits. It spends most of its time on the ground, although often climbing trees. It is capable of defending itself against almost any beast of prey. It has a kind of barking voice, varying when it is enraged to a ter rific roar. It inhabits exclusively the densest parts of tropical forests, and is only found in regions where fresh water is abundant. It is much dreaded by the people of the countries in which it is found, although by some of the tribes its flesh is sought after for food. Many strange stories are current' among them about its habits, which seem entitled to little regard—as, for example, of its carrying away men and women, and detaining them for some time in the woods—of its lying in wait on the branch of a tree till a man passes beneath, furtively stretching down one of its hinder legs to catch him, and holding him in the grasp of its foot, or rather hand, till he is strangled; and the like.—The gorilla has not been hitherto tamed, and in an adult state at least, seems very incapable of it. In 1876 a live gorilla was brought to Berlin, the first authentic instance of the introduction of the animal into Europe. The name given to this animal in its native country is ngina, or ingeena.
Du Chaffin has described, as discovered by himself, two other species of troglodytes, • the koolokamba (T and the nshiego-mbouve (T. calms), smaller than the gorilla; the latter remarkable for making an umbrella like shelter of leaves placed against a branch to protect itself from the rain.