If there is one thing you can find on the internet, its animal videos. Whether you searched for a specific video, or just stumbled upon one by accident, animal videos are guaranteed to make you smile. Or just simply amaze you.
When it comes to the best animal videos though, they manage to do both. And the most interesting thing we always notice is how they always manage to somehow act human. And no one mimics human behavior better than our close relatives, the apes. we might not all remember our biology lessons, but we share about 98 percent of our DNA with gorillas and even 99% with chimpanzees. So we might not be that surprised when a great ape acts a little human. Or would we?
As it turns out, this 27-year old silver-back gorilla shot to viral fame after showing some behavior, not unlike us. Ambam, the name of the gorilla, was first videotaped back in 2010, at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England, which is a part of the Aspinall Foundation. What is so interesting about the whole thing is seeing Ambam walking on just his hind legs, fully upright.
That may not seem that impressive to us humans with our bipedal stance, but it is pretty strange for a gorilla. In fact, it’s that same 2% that makes the difference between us walking on only two legs compared to apes. It’s not that they can’t, as you can clearly see from the video, it’s just that they don’t. Especially when traveling long distances, walking on two legs is not advantageous for them.
Except, maybe not for Ambam. This unique silverback more often than not keeps “strutting” around the enclosure at Port Lympne Reserve. According to Live Science, “Zookeepers say he does it to see over his confine’s walls, and to carry large amounts of food.”
Anthropologist Kevin Hunt from Indiana University believes he might have the answer why Ambam has a unique strut. According to him, walking on two legs apparently, runs in the family. Ambam’s father also walked on two legs a lot, probably because of being raised as a pet. “It’s not unusual for chimps and gorillas to stand up, but they don’t usually walk very far,” he said. “If this gorilla was a pet when he was young, he may have learned to walk upright to copy the humans around him”. That is probably where Ambam picked it up. “Or it could be a weird personality quirk that he inherited genetically,” Hunt adds.
No matter why, if you are ever in Kent, be sure to visit the reserve and check out Ambam’s human-like amble.