Gorillas & Human Dads: More Alike than You Thought!

More than five decades later, the Fossey Fund’s continued research on this population—which makes them one  of the world’s longest-studied animals—is still providing critical insights into what it means to be a gorilla, or a human.

(From The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund)

A new study based on research at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda and just published in “Scientific Reports” suggests that male mountain gorillas who are nice to infants have greater success in siring more infants.

This finding is scientifically noteworthy because it contradicts what was long believed about male gorilla reproduction and male primates in general—that all that matters is the ability to fight for the dominant position, not whether you’re a good parent.

The study’s senior author, Fossey Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Tara Stoinski, says this study shows that long-term study of a species continues to pay off in unexpected ways.

“Dian Fossey first went to study these mountain gorillas in the 1960s, with the goal of furthering our understanding of human evolution,” Dr. Stoinski says. “More than five decades later, the Fossey Fund’s continued research on this population—which makes them one  of the world’s longest-studied animals—is still providing critical insights into what it means to be a gorilla, or a human,” she adds.

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