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Killing A Legacy Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

The gorilla is one of the most fascinating primates known to man, whose evolutionary history has been shrouded in mystery for many years. However, with the advent of DNA sequencing, this great ape’s genealogical history is now coming to light, which is perhaps a contradiction of what was formerly the conventional wisdom of the phylogenetic category of the gorilla. The perception of this great ape was once that of a brutish and aggressive animal, who was to be feared and avoided; yet, through scientific research a newfound understanding of the gorilla was adopted in the mid-nineteenth century. The gorilla has been persistently studied in its natural habitat in the mountain and lowland rainforest regions throughout various parts of Africa, which has enriched mankind’s understanding of this gentle and family oriented creature.
Molecular phylogeny was the long held standard for the evolutionary tree of primates and other living creatures; however, DNA sequencing has become the popular and more reliable replacement for this form of classification (Brown, 2002). In March of 2012 “a multi-national group of researchers” announced that the gorilla genome had been sequenced ("Gorilla genome sequenced". 2012), which led to a greater understanding of gorilla and human evolution. According to the “Gorilla genome sequenced,” the disclosures provided by the genome sequencing include corresponding evolutionary patterns that were similar in the development of “hearing perception,” which developed rather quickly in both human and gorilla species, illustrating a similar degree of evolutionary processes. (2012). This finding would refute the earlier held contention that hearing was correlated to speech and shows that the similarities are more profound than the differences ("Gorilla genome sequenced". 2012). Further research has disclosed that following the chimpanzee; the gorilla is the closest living relative of the human species (Scally, et. al, 2012, p. 169). New data also suggests a discrepancy in fossil record dating, with current DNA accounts of evolution placing the gorilla to a time of speciation of “THC from 5.5 to 7 Myr ago and THCG from 8.5 to 12 Myr ago” (Scally, et. al, 2012, p. 171), this large divide of time is based on an “inability to observe past mutation rates” (Scally, et. al, 2012, p. 171).
Family structure is the centerpiece of the gorilla’s social climate, with the group usually consisting of “5-15 individuals” comprised of one male that rules supreme, several females and their offspring and a contingent band, in some cases, of exigent male gorillas living on the fringe of the group (Csomos, 2008). Although shy and gentle by nature, infighting among males is common in touting superiority and claiming the rights to the females of the group (Csomos, 2008). One unfortunate consequence of these battles for hierarchy is the infanticide of the ousted males young (Csomos, 2008). The theory of these murders is that the incoming conqueror rids the...

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