Is it really a man in a suit?

May 13, 2011 • 8:52 am

by Matthew Cobb

There are some fantastic photos of gorillas by professional wildlife photographer Andy Rouse that you can see here. Here’s just one example, a male silverback. As always when I see a gorilla, I have the strong impression that I’m really looking at a human in a gorilla suit.

© Andy Rouse

h/t Jackie Caine’s FB page.

31 thoughts on “Is it really a man in a suit?

  1. I wonder if they think they’re looking at a shaved gorilla? I love the picture of the juvenile hanging from the branch.

  2. Funny, but I have the opposite experience.

    No matter how cleverly done, I can always tell when it’s a man in a gorilla suit (as in the second King Kong with Jessica Lange – just dreadful).

    That’s why the Bigfoot photos are so obviously fake. The morphology just SCREAMS “human”.

  3. Not so much a hu(man), but an alert, cognizant ‘someone’. There’s somebody in there, behind those eyes. The feeling would be more profound (and unnerving) if gorillas had visible, white sclera.

    1. Edit: “Not so much a (hu)man . . .” for “Not so much a hu(man) . . .”

      The editor in my head is now satisfied.

    2. I just got a second hand copy of Stephen Budiansky’s book, If a Lion Could Talk: How Animals Think. That they think is I reckon a certainty – the big question for me is what it means to think without words.

    3. I agree – “unsettling” came to mind too. There is definitely “someone” in there. I think what makes staring at such a face uncomfortable (at least for me) is that we can suppose we know what they are thinking/feeling – but we really don’t have a clue.

  4. There is a zoo, I can’t remember where it is, which has a wall with glass ports in it for viewing gorillas. On several occasions I was there when a big silverback lounging against the wall, looking out through one of the ports. I squatted down and looked the big fellow straight in the eye from only a few inches away. It was a wonderful experience. I felt that he was appraising me no less than I was him. I have frequently seen human eyes with obviously less intelligence in their gaze than this gorilla.

    1. I was lucky enough some years back to visit gorillas in the wild. It was an experience never to be forgotten, a whole troop of them, silverback, mothers, babies, the works. We were with them for about an hour. They were wonderful.

      I would recommend a visit to them to every one, whatever the cost, you will come away thinking it money well spent.

      1. Would be wonderful, but humans spread diseases to them & I wonder about the ethics of continually disturbing them?

  5. Some years ago I was travelling on the London Underground (Central Line); at Bank a man in a gorilla suit (at least that’s what I assumed) got on. He took a copy of The Times from his briefcase and quietly read it, of course all the passengers pretended they hadn’t noticed.

    1. I don’t know if London has them, but in the US, many cities have “gorilla-grams”; which are basically silly singing telegrams given by someone dressed in a gorilla suit.

      The guy was probably on his way to a gig.

    2. …of course all the passengers pretended they hadn’t noticed.

      So funny! Ah, human nature…

  6. There were ads in the London underground, and on trains, that if you were caught without a ticket, people would look at you. I presume the guy in the gorilla suit had a ticket and thus the right not to be noticed.

  7. when I see a gorilla, I have the strong impression that I’m really looking at a human in a gorilla suit.

    At a recent trip to a zoo, I heard some children giggling about the very same thing. The gorilla would have none of it and did his best to ignore their hollering at him to take off the suit.

  8. Is it really a man in a suit?

    Well, duh!

    I thought everyone already knew that.

    So-called “gorrillas” are nothing by WWF employees in costumes, trying to scam you out of your money.

    Same thing with dolphins.

    And koalas are Chinese child slaves with wigs.

    Drop bears are real, though.

        1. I thought it would be a type of sweet! I have a friend who studies fossil diprotodons – wonder if she can dig up a fossil drop bear tooth!

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