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Mountain Gorillas

mountain gorillas

The mountain gorilla  is one of the two  subspecies of the eastern gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks namely; Mgahinga in south-west Uganda, Volcanoes in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga Mt in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The other specie is Uganda found in Uganda’s the mighty Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some primatologists say
that the Bwindi Gorillas  in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no description has been finished. By Spring 2010, the estimated total number of mountain gorillas worldwide was 790 but Uganda has more that half of this World`s Gorilla population.

Mountain gorillas are descendants of ancestral monkeys and apes found in Africa and Arabia during the start of the oligocene epoch (34-24 million years ago). This fossil record provides evidence of the hominoid primates (apes) found in east Africa about 18–22 million years ago. The fossil record of the area where mountain gorillas live is particularly poor and so its evolutionary history is not clear. It was about 9 million years ago that the group of primates that were to evolve into gorillas split from their common ancestor with humans and chimps; this is when the genus Gorilla emerged. Sources say it is not certain what this early relative of the gorilla was, but it is traced back to the early ape proconsul africanus Mountain gorillas have been isolated from eastern lowland gorillas for about 400,000 years and these two taxa separated from their western counterparts approximately 2 million years ago. There has been considerable standing debate over the classification of mountain gorillas. The genus was first referenced as Troglodytes in 1847, but renamed to Gorilla in 1852. It was not until 1967 that Colin Groves the taxonomist proposed that all gorillas be regarded as one species (Gorilla gorilla) with three sub-species Gorilla gorilla gorilla (western lowland gorilla), Gorilla gorilla graueri (lowland gorillas found west of the Virungas) and Gorilla gorilla beringei (mountain gorillaincluding, Gorilla beringei found in the Virungas and Bwindi).
In 2003 after a review they were divided into two species (Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei) by The World Conservation Union (IUCN).
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