Communication

Many people ask these questions; How Do Gorillas Communicate? Can gorillas talk? If not will gorillas ever talk? Can gorillas laugh or show excitement? Can gorillas understand and do sign language?

Despite the fact that gorillas live in dense tropical rain forests where group members often cannot see each other, they use vocalization as a means of communication in different ways. This is both verbally and non- verbally as they mix up sounds with actions. It can be very loud around gorillas when they are active and communicating. Gorillas use their communication skills for a variety of things. They make screams, grunts, roars, growls, and even hooting like an owl at times. They certainly can be funny too, laughing in a way that seems like they are making fun of others around them and even the famous sticking their tongue out.

More so, communication is one of the most important things that a mother can teach to her offspring. They use it to search for food, offer support, express their own distress, for mating, and for developing social relationships within their troop.

For the newly born gorillas, vocalizations for instance whimpering, crying, screaming are the most important means to communicate to their mothers in order to capture their attention to get what they needs. As soon as the baby starts to move away from its mother, it starts to use grunting vocalizations. These sounds, generally classified as ‘grunts’ and ‘barks’ and their many variations, are the gorillas’ most important vocalizations. They indicate where a particular individual in a group can be found. It is believed that adults make eight of such vocalizations per hour, more especially while travelling. Group members can quickly recognize each other from the sounds. In addition to the above, Young gorillas have communications that they use which are similar to those of human babies. They include whining and making sharp noises. Their mothers are quick to try to find out what they need to get those forms of communication.

The adult males won’t back down when they are being challenged by young ones or immature gorillas. They will make very loud screaming sounds and at the same time they will beat their chest with their hands rapidly. This kind of signal is a warning to the younger gorillas to go away and in most cases the younger ones will retreat.

The most interesting part is that in certain troops they may develop forms of slang as human being do in their own social groups. This is fascinating as it means that their communications are often learned behaviors and not just instinct driven. It can be harder though for gorillas when they move to find their own troop though as those forms of communication wont’ be readily known by others outside that troop.

On top of all, Gorillas have a very good hearing skill so they can call out to each other. The young definitely learn the voice of their mother at a very young age. They can pick up low noises that humans can’t hear easily and that is often how they are alerted to dangers. They also rely upon their sense of smell to warn them if humans or other threats are in the area. The gorillas’ senses resemble like those of humans. They use all senses in their communication with not only hearing and seeing, but also touching and smelling. Silverback males have a characteristic smell. In case of a dangerous situation, they additionally create a very specific scent which can be smelled at many meters and which alerts the group without any noise.

However, body postures and facial expressions also indicate the gorillas’ mood. Certain behavioral patterns involve certain body postures and often require another animal to do something. Postures signaling mood or intention to the partner are sometimes even used for communication over greater distances; this is particularly true for display behavior. Gorillas do not like being directly stared at. Direct eye contact is a sign of aggression.