Dec 22 2011

Starting your morning off right for a change

Usually, first thing in the morning, I’m feeding you some fresh new outrage or foolishness. How about something to awe and inspire for once? Here, watch the gorillas, and think about your place in the universe.

(Also on Sb)


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  1. 1

    I’m the one who’s walking out of line…

  2. 2
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I liked the silverback pushing one of the small ones away from the human. Had the “quit annoying the animal” look to it.

  3. 3

    what do you mean “starting your morning off”? as far as I’m concerned, crack-of-dawn is the perfect time to finally go to sleep


  4. 4

    Now THAT is AMAZING. What a lucky guy (and group).

  5. 5
    Dick the Damned

    Ahhhh, Kirk Cameron wasn’t holding his banana. And Ken Ham wasn’t to be seen at all.

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I’m with Jadehawk. Dawn is your Enemy.

  7. 7

    Nerd: Yeah, that was perfect. I am always amazed by chimps and gorillas (shouldn’t be I guess) at how very much like us they really are.

  8. 8
    PZ Myers

    how very much like us they really are

    Except, a little less violent and casually destructive.

  9. 9
    David Marjanović

    I’ve successfully avoided dawn lately, but that’s because it’s winter. :-/

  10. 10

    Thanks, PZ. Good way to start the day.

  11. 11
    Teh kiloGraeme

    Just wow.

    Was the guy hiding his eyes earlier? Or was it the bowed head that was important?

  12. 12

    I love the look the gorilla gives him at the end as it leaves. “Puny human, we are going now”.

  13. 13
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Mountain gorillas are my favourite Great Apes (save present company). That was amazing and I think I would have given my pinky toe to be in that guy’s place.

    Nerd: Yeah, that was perfect. I am always amazed by chimps and gorillas (shouldn’t be I guess) at how very much like us they really are.

    Don’t forget the Orang Utans!
    But yes, that was actually a gesture I only know too well.

  14. 14

    Better than any kitten video, needs another octopus to be perfect!

  15. 15

    I want to know, I couldnt stop myself from crying like a baby, was there anyone else reacting like that or is it just this puny human that did?


  16. 16

    The Dawn. I remember sunlight. is it still warm and yellow ? does it still have the strange burning sensation of UV light smashing into you ?

    Well, at least *those* hairy beasts won’t try to nuke each other at the drop of a pin, because their Deity told them to.

  17. 17

    Fantastic. The ending brought a tear to my eye, too, especially after I remembered that there are only a couple hundred mountain gorillas left on the planet. Another thought occurred to me: if these had been wild chimpanzees instead, that guy might have been turned into bush meat.

  18. 18


    Yeah, I started to think about what a vile creature we are, destroying the world and murdering all creatures we can, my wife came by wondering what the heck was going on me sitting crying infront of the computer.

    And think about this gentlemen (metaphorical expression): About 50% of our people think the world is younger then tree’s and have no problem killing these animals considering themselves “above them” because they are “dirty apes” and they are Superior and SMARTER then other Animals.

    It is disgusting how vile we can be whiles also doing amazing things. :(

  19. 19
    chigau (違う)

    A long time ago, I wanted to be like Louis’s Angels.

  20. 20
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I liked the silverback pushing one of the small ones away from the human. Had the “quit annoying the animal” look to it.

    LOL it totally did. “No, don’t pet it. You don’t know where its been.”


    Except, a little less violent and casually destructive.

    Well, yeah. But apart from that, do they recognize other (species of) primates? Would they recognize us as other primates?


    I couldnt stop myself from crying like a baby

    I teared up too. It was a beautiful little moment to capture on film.

    My personal little pipe dream is running off to Nyaru Menteng to work with orangutans. What degree does that require, I wonder. LOL

  21. 21

    Kul wahad!

  22. 22

    Now that is a ‘born again’ experience. A real one that is. That mans life will surly be changed forever.

  23. 23
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    Now that is a ‘born again’ experience. A real one that is. That mans life will surly be changed forever.

    Funny, I can just see the gorillas afterwards going “Well, we said hello and he just ignored us. Didn’t even turn around”.

  24. 24

    bob75, I cried too. At first it was beacuse of the beauty of the animals, and then it was because of the joy on John’s face. Didn’t he look absolutely thirlled?

  25. 25

    Maybe I become to emotional, haha, seriously, I couldn’t control myself in anyway, I just started to cry, everytime I switch on the video, perhaps that is one of the few different ways the human ape is ‘not the same’, but my ignorance is to big to say anything about it.

    Else, seriously, look at the children, the parents and the behaviour, it is so obvious and clear and well, go to a Zoo and look at a bunch of Homo Sapiens walking around with their children, preventing them from sometimes harming or disturbing the other animals and so on, it is a perfect example of how same we all are, just gone to a different point. No reason to be arrogant and think yourself “above” just because of the point we are at, and pretend there are magical beings in the sky making us special? Comeone, seriously.

    I found the video wonderful, and I want people to know, I can not switch it on without starting to cry over and over again, I know I know, it is silly and ridiculous, somethings up with Bob.

  26. 26
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Bob, I teared up a little too. The look of sheer awestruck joy on the fellow’s face at the end was contagious. That, and the casual curiosity of the young’uns.

  27. 27

    That was calming.

  28. 28

    PZ @ 8: Yeah I forgot about that part!

  29. 29


    Yes the body posture signals submission and/or non-aggression. I think the guides train people to do that. Looking into the eyes of an adult gorilla is pretty a pretty aggressive gesture I think.

  30. 30

    I love this video! We watched a larger segment of it in my Bio lab once upon last summer.

    Gorillas are wonderful, and probably my favorite non-human (actually, I don’t really care for humans, really) ape. They may be my all time favorite animal too (mimic octopus is a close contender).

    The surgeon I work for always criticizes my choice in studying psychology. He always says how I won’t make money. Fuck you. I don’t want to make money. I want to play with gorillas and teach them how to boil spaghetti.

    At the zoo near my house, there is an area where that is situated above and across from the gorilla exhibit. From there you can communicate with them, wave, etc. Then there is a lower area which you can see them face to face, divided by glass.

    I remember the first time I was awestruck by the intelligence of a gorilla. I was sitting in the ‘upper’ area when one gorilla made eye contact with me. He then started waving a branch he was chewing on to get my attention and began to point at the lower, glassed area, where he walked over to meet me. At that point, we knocked back and forth at the glass. He showed me his toys and fruit. We made hand gestures to each other. I can still see his eyes.

    Prior to this, gorillas were mere animals that I paid $6.50 to see. I had no curiosity, and no insight to the animal world. Their intelligence was coincidence; something that I perceived at irrelevant. Since then I have learned a lot more about their behavior, and their intelligence. I have often gone back to try and learn a bit more about their facial expression.

    Tl; dnr. I love gorillas.

  31. 31

    Well, that certainly made me cry. I completely understand the face-splitting grin John was wearing: to be kissed by a mountain gorilla, what a rare and precious event!

  32. 32

    I just realized that I met John a couple of years ago, that bastard, I think I am going to check my address book, this is just unfair.

  33. 33


    Unfortunately, many gorillas in zoos get angry and stressed at the human observers, and make overt gestures of violence at them.

    Not that I blame them. Dirty apes looking down at them all day long, I’d be upset, too.

  34. 34
    Thomas Lawson

    That was beautiful.

  35. 35

    a woman i went to college with was with her family on a trip to see some wild gorillas. they found a group and the guide told them to sit down and watch, but don’t make direct eye contact cuz it is aggressive. they sat watching the gorillas for a while, when the gorillas got up and started walking away. except they were walking right by the group of humans. the big male got up to my friends dad, stopped, patted him on the back, and continued walking away.

  36. 36

    Where does an 800 pound Gorrilla sit?

    I am not in agreement that Gorrillas are saints. Give a gorrilla a machine gun and the knowledge to use it and they will commit their own horrors.

  37. 37

    Whoa, just whoa.

    Also, a good thing these guys (M/F) never picked up the habit of eating meat.

    And also, I will be among the brown** people* next year :P
    * Orang
    ** That’s what Hutan means, right?

  38. 38

    That was so beautiful. I admit, I teared up a little, too. All the apes are so amazing. You look in their eyes and wonder what’s going on in there.

  39. 39
    Fickle Ibis

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who got teary eyed watching this. I really don’t see how anyone could even want to deny that we’re related to them.

  40. 40

    @ #39

    We’re related to everything; it’s only at rare movements when it is made so movingly clear as in the video.

  41. 41

    I used to volunteer as a docent in the Great Ape house at my local zoo. One quiet day, I was sitting with the family group of gorillas, and an adult female looked right at me, opened her mouth and then closed it again. She did this several times in succession. I sat watching her, wondering why she was doing this, since I knew that she knew perfectly well that I wasn’t one of the people who fed her. After she did it maybe four times in a row, I decided to respond. I opened my mouth and closed it again. She nodded, and then never did it again. I thought, well, I don’t know what I said, but she taught me something. Next time I was there, I watched her. As soon as she spotted me, she opened her mouth and closed it. I did the same. She nodded. Next time, I did it first, and she did it back! I was flabberghasted! We greeted each other every time I was there after that, but life constraints forced me to give up that volunteer gig not long after. I didn’t go back to the zoo for almost a year, and my first time back I took my future husband to meet my great ape friends. It was a very busy Saturday, and there were lots of people watching the gorillas. We sat among the group. My particular gorilla friend liked to people-watch, and she was scanning the crowd. Her eyes passed over my face and moved on, and then she did a massive comedy double-take back to me, and opened her mouth! I responded, and she nodded, just like old times! I burst into tears!

    mikeg – I also had experiences similar to yours, where I showed them the stuff in my purse and they watched intently, but I never had any of them bring their things to show me. Like humans, some gorillas are more gregarious than others.

    If I was in the position of that guy in the video, I would have been a blubbering, sobbing mess by the time the goriallas left me. Note to self: always wear a black shirt when looking for gorillas in the jungle!

  42. 42
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    For Bob:

    more teary material. These always make me tear up.

    Dancing Matt: http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

    Because there’s something beautiful about the apparent fact that silliness is a universal language.

  43. 43

    Typical relatives, dropping in unannounced. :)

  44. 44


    That’s not silliness. That’s pure, undirected JOY!

  45. 45
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    They’re not mutually exclusive, Peter! Frankly, I think pure, undireceted joy requires a little silliness.

  46. 46

    Well,then – I’m at least part way home! :)

  47. 47

    I believe those were “habituated” gorillas not “wild”. That silver back was taking his troop on a field trip to see the “habituated” humans.

  48. 48

    It’s videos like this that make me glad I’m studying Anthropological Science with the option of going in to Primatology, which is looking so very tempting all of a sudden.

  49. 49

    Except, a little less violent and casually destructive

    It’s my understanding that Gorillas are gentle animals, much less violent than we are. Chimpanzees on the other hand–violence-wise, they are probably our equal, or close to it. They even wage war.


  50. 50

    (Obviously they can’t be our equal in destruction, but that may only be due to their extremely limited weapons technology.)

  51. 51

    It looks like a school field trip or family vacation. I think one of the gorillas probably “said” let’s go check out the human exhibit!

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