To us, gorillas are some of the most fascinating creatures. They’re some of the most similar mammals to humans, and when scientists in Cambridge, U.K., decoded the DNA of the gorilla, they discovered that they are 98% similar to humans at a genetic level.
We’re still learning new things about gorillas every day, and there’s no question about the fact that they’re incredibly smart.
But just like humans, gorillas also enjoy having silly and light-hearted moments- and one of these moments was captured on camera back in 2013. The video, titled, “Little Girl and Baby Gorilla Become Friends,” was shared on YouTube by Waggle TV, and it has over 3.8 million views.
In the sweet clip, we can see the gorilla and the little girl goofing around together, and it’s the most wholesome thing. First, the little girl walks back and forth alongside the window of an enclosure.
The gorilla mimics her behavior through the other side of the glass and walks back and forth with her as if he’s the girl’s very own mirror reflection.
The girl then lifts up the leg, and the gorilla copies that same motion with his arms. The girl then puts both hands onto the glass, and on the other side, the gorilla does the same. It’s clear that he’s trying to copy her every move, and to both him and the girl, this is a very fun game!
The little girl giggles with glee as she tries to think of more silly actions for the gorilla to copy. When he presses his mouth up to the glass, she goes in for a kiss on the other side, and it looks so adorably hilarious that onlookers can’t help chuckling.
Although we saw this as simply a silly game between two children, apparently, the reason that gorillas have learned to copy human behavior is a lot more profound.
De Waal said the reason gorillas imitate human behavior is “not because they think it is fun” but because “they identify with those who take care of them.”
“Apes are naturally imitative (hence the verb aping) and a parent is imitated more than others. Imitation is often driven by attachment,” he added.
This gorilla wasn’t the only one to go viral for imitating human behaviors! Back in April 2019, a picture was posted on Facebook of a man taking a selfie with two gorillas in two of the most human-like poses we have ever seen an animal get into.
Both gorillas were standing on their back two legs, and one of them was standing in a way that looked as if he had his hands in his pockets.
The picture soon went viral with over 34k reactions, as people couldn’t stop marveling over how similar the gorillas looked to us humans.
Innocent Mburanumwe, deputy director of Virunga National Park, told BBC Newsday that, in the picture, the apes look like humans, “like soldiers saluting a flag.” He continued, saying that primates do not usually stand up but, “when they are very curious, they have to stand up and see what they have to see.”
Because the two gorillas had grown up around humans, they had learned to imitate such human-like behaviors. How fascinating! Watch the hilarious video of the little girl and her imitating gorilla friend below.
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