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Facial expressions

Another irritation factor for me, sorry People who (both in zoos as in response to my videos) are saying 'he looks angry' or 'he looks grumpy' or 'he looks sad' I get so tired of it

Every gorilla his his/her own head, his/her own look. And no, that doesn't show that they're sad or grumpy or angry. Also many postures don't tell if they're angry/grumpy/sad. Why is it that people give them human emotions I often wonder. Yes, in many things they look alike, but they're not (and that makes why they're so nice to look at).

The only thing that you can compare to us humans is a gorilla baby/gorilla kid laughing. Often mothers tickle their baby. That little one then laughs, with his/her mouth. It's so great to see Also when gorilla kids play with each other, you see them laugh (be aware: you see it, you don't hear it in most zoos, it's not that loud). The 'play face' of a gorilla kid is always lovely.

Look here for a lovely video of a laughing gorilla from GRACE (turn on your sound!!).

Also older gorillas sometimes laugh with their mouth with sounds, when they're playing.

Gorillas do have empathic capacity/behaviour, but they don't have all emotions we have. And even if they do have a certain emotion, you can't see it like with us on the face, but they have a typical posture where all hairs stand up and the lips are pressed tightly together. And make a certain noise (which noise you can't hear in the zoos most of the time).

9 January 2019:
I'm finally going to tell more about the 'angry/grumpy/sad/depressed' matter.

When I was in Zoo Berlin again in June 2018, I noticed a sign there. An awesome sign! One that they should put up in all zoos with gorillas. I didn't notice the sign in 2016 when I was in Berlin for the first time. This is the sign:

As you see on the following photos gorillas have a so called heavy brow ridge. This is right above their eyes, so they can't show expression with that part of their face.

Skull female*

Skull male*

*both skulls are from gorillafoundation.nl

Our ancestors also had such a heavy brow ridge. About 300,000 years ago it 'disappeared'. If you just google for it, you'll find information on the internet.

Laughing or looking happy, like we do, is impossible because of that brow ridge. When we express emotions we use our entire face, including our eyebrows. The gorillas (and great other apes: orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos) can't do that. One example: we laugh with our cheeks, mouth, eyes and eyebrows. They can't do that.

So that's why a gorilla always has this 'angry' look. But please if you ever said that a gorilla is looking angry (or sad, or depressed etc.), don't do it again! As I mentioned above, human emotions aren't something you can give to gorillas when you see them look a certain way.

The gorilla has his/her own look (especially thanks to this brow ridge). That's it!

If you ever hear people saying things like 'he's angry/sad/depressed/grumpy' when they look at gorillas, tell them to take a look at gorillafan.nl, gorilla facts, facial expressions.