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Gorilla or Gorillas?

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Gorilla gorilla is understood in the sense of Wilson and Reeder (1993), the reference established by decision of CMS COP 6 (Rec 6.1). As such, it includes three subspecies: the Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla and two eastern subspecies, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla graueri and the Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla beringei.

The most usual present treatment, however, recognises the western and eastern populations as separate full species, Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei respectively. The eastern and western populations are separated by approximately 1,000 km (Garner and Ryder, 1996). Western and eastern populations can be distinguished based on external features (Groves, 2002) and clear geographic and morphological distinctions can also be seen (Garner and Ryder, 1996). The western group comprises the isolated Nigeria-Cameroon gorillas now recognised as a subspecies, Cross River Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla diehli, and the Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla, though there is much divergence even within this subgroup. The eastern group includes both the Eastern lowland, Gorilla beringei graueri, and the two mountain populations of Gorilla beringei beringei.


Western lowland gorilla © Martin Rügner and Mountain gorillas ©  Adrian Warren

 

Western Gorilla : Gorilla gorilla

Gorilla gorilla gorilla

Gorilla gorilla diehli

Eastern gorilla : Gorilla beringei

Gorilla beringei beringei

Gorilla beringei graueri

 

 

 

 

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Last modified : August 28, 2007