Everyday LifeHow Does Gorilla Locomotion Look Like?

How Does Gorilla Locomotion Look Like?

  • Young gorilla climbing (© Wolfram Rietschel)

Just like chimpanzees, gorillas usually move on all fours using their knuckles – this is called ‘knuckle walking’. The mountain gorillas of the Virunga volcanoes, for example, knuckle walk for 94% of the time. Occasionally gorillas rear up to walk on their two hind legs for short distances, particularly when they display. However, when they do this their knees and trunk are bent; in humans the upper body stays vertical and, in certain phases of motion, the legs form one line with this axis.

How Do Gorillas Climb?

Gorillas move on all fours even when they are in trees - only rarely do they brachiate and hardly ever do they jump from branch to branch. When they climb up thin tree trunks they use their hands and feet to encircle the trunk while bracing their big toes. Large trunks they encircle with their long arms and raise themselves up with their feet.