How Do Mountain Gorillas Move?

How do mountain gorillas move? Gorillas are the greatest apes – the land dwelling mammals. While moving on the ground, gorilla typically moves on all fours, that’s why are called Knuckle walking. Although they rear walk on their two hind legs for short distances which is bipedalism.

Below is a description on How Do Mountain Gorillas Move?

Knuckle –walking in Gorillas

This is kind of a walking style found in some primates where they move quadrupedally or on all their four limbs ‘’hands and feet’ ’Gorillas are specifically knuckle-walkers, like that of Virunga Volcanoes and Bwindi Impenetrable national park Uganda.

Knuckle walking actually means that Mountain gorillas walk on the top of their knuckles as opposed to weight on their palms. They fold their fingers on the front two limbs ‘’hands’’ inward and begin to knuckle walk.

Current research shows that the type of walking was acquired from the divergence between gorilla and chimpanzee lineages.

When gorillas move around, these are the posture observed such as extended elbows, stiff wrist areas and posteriorly placed palms.

Unlike chimpanzees, gorillas do not extend their wrists much when walking. The medial joints can get slightly flexed as they swing their limbs.

Why gorillas walk knuckle walk?

There is no a clear explanation as to why gorillas walk on their knuckles, scientific research has indicated many possibilities that would have led to this unusual locomotion behavior.

It is well known that gorillas are the world’s largest living primates weighing over 200 Kilograms. And here is the reason why gorillas adopted such a walking style that help them to reduce the impact on their weight as soft tissue of their forelimbs.

How Do Mountain Gorillas Move?
Gorilla Movement

Gorillas also have their hips attached differently than that of humans, so standing on two legs for a long period for a long time would eventually become painful for them. Humans would have to walk on all fours the same if they had the same type of hip placement.

Knuckle walking enables small objects to be carried in the fingers of gorillas while walking on all fours.

They also knuckle walk because were natured with long arms, short legs and stiff backs. The arm span of a male gorilla can stretch between 7.5 feet and 8.5 feet.

In general, the bipedalism cannot favor gorillas due to their body structure which were made for quadrupedal walking.

Their knuckle walking is mainly for weight bearing and stability.

Gorilla’s finger bones are wider and flatter to create a more stable base in their forearm. The skin between their fingers is tough and highly padded to support the adequate movement.

Gorilla sometimes walk bipedally too;

Sometime Mountain gorillas can exclusively walk quadrupedally and can occasionally stand upright and walk on two legs for short period of time.

This can happen when they are going to chest beat. They can also walk bipedally when carrying something like food or an infant.

Gorilla can also stand erect and walk when curious about something in the distance. But they rarely stand upright and walk because of having long arms, stiff backs and short legs.

Climbing in gorillas;

Though gorillas travel on the ground, they will occasionally climb trees. While climbing trees and other objects, they can grasp with all four limbs.

Their feet and those of many other non-human primates are rarely adopted for this, with a special big toe that functions similarly to a thumb. Other toes look longer and more dexterous than human toes.

How long does it take for an infant gorilla to walk?

Gorillas are like humans, are not left independent when they are born. At first, they lay on their mother’s stomach and supports them with one arm, walking tripedally.

At the age of 3 months, they can grasp on and mothers can go back to walking quadrupedally. Fortunately, infant gorillas grow strong enough to climb onto their mother’s back.

Infant gorillas usually begin independently walk and explore within a few feet of mothers at around 8 months of age. And as they get older and braver they will range further.

Is a gorilla faster than a human?

Gorillas are very fast or move fast most especially when they are in the forest. They also have ability to run at speeds of 20 mph to 25 mph. So when gorilla turns to threaten or charges at you during your Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park in Congo. During your trekking encounter, you’re advised not to look down, just walk away without fear to create a distance between you and the gorillas.

In case you to try to run the gorillas will easily run faster after you and attack you, something that might cause death.

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