Species: WESTERN GORILLA
| EASTERN GORILLA
Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla
Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri)
Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)
Bwindi Gorilla (Gorilla beringei ?)*
Scientific classification of living organisms
is known as Linnaean Taxonomy,
named for the person who developed it, Carolus
Linnaeus. This form of classification designates living
organisms into a descending hierarchical structure,
starting with kingdoms at the top.
It should however be noted that many modern biologists
consider Domains to be a classification
As seen from the outline above, Kingdoms
are divided into phylum (phyla is the plural form) which
in turn are broken down into subphyla, then into classes
and so on and so forth.
Basic concept on how species are
A species’ name is binomial (two words in the
name). The first word is the generic name
and always starts with a Capital letter.
The second word is the specific name
and always begins with a small letter.
If there’s a third word in the name this refers to the
sub-species of that particular species. So
for example Gorilla beringei graueri , Gorilla
refers to the genus, beringei refers
to the species and graueri refers
to the sub-species.
THE LONG WINDING ROAD TO MODERN
DAY GORILLA CLASSIFICATION
Gorillas were originally designated the
scientific name Troglodytes gorilla by Thomas
Savage in 1847. However the genus Troglodytes had already
been described for the chimpanzee. And the plot thickens
yet. Fifty or so years later someone made the astute
observation that the genus Troglodytes couldn't properly
belong to the chimpanzee because prior to being ascribed
to the chimpanzee, it had actually been allocated to
a bird. The wren!
Evidently taxonomy back then was not
an exact science. It was not uncommon for species to
be named on the basis of a whim. In the case of gorilla
classification, quite often the individual who published
the description was ignorant (or at best had a very
vague idea) of the geography of Africa, never mind accurately
pin-pointing the place-of-origin of a specimen.
In 1852 the gorilla was eventually designated
the genus Gorilla by Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire.
After that the process of gorilla taxonomy hummed along
more smoothly. That said, it should be pointed out that
even today there're still some issues of contention
though most experts recognize two species with corresponding
two sub-species apiece, there still some who contend
that there is only one true gorilla species and four
Tip: Gorilla gorilla = Western Species
| Gorilla beringei = Eastern Species
* The question mark reflects the current
contention on whether this is a true subspecies or merely
a mountain gorilla variation (as it was considered until