Why Do Male Gorillas Beat Their Chests? New Study Offers Intriguing Evidence


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Dec 18, 2015
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Since King Kong first appeared on the silver screen in 1933, the fictional giant ape has exposed audiences all over the world to a very real gorilla behavior—chest-beating.

But it may surprise you to learn that while scientists have speculated about the percussive display’s meanings, actual evidence for why male gorillas sometimes pound their chests has been scarce.

“It is an extremely impressive display,” says Edward Wright, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. “It can be a bit frightening. You don’t want to get in the way.”

Interestingly, while a male mountain gorilla’s hearty chest beat would seem to signal aggression, new research by Wright shows that the behavior may actually prevent violence between the massive animals, which can top out at nearly 500 pounds.


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Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
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Did you purchase your hunt at a US SCI fundraiser?
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