A Cloudspotting Gorilla
Richard Parnell, Member 7750, has written to tell us of evidence of cloudspotting amongst western lowland gorillas that he observed during a three-year field trip to study them in Congo, Africa.
Richard was observing gorillas from a hide next to a jungle clearing. A family emerged from the foliage and began to make their way across the clearing. After just a few steps out out into the treeless swamp, one juvenile gorilla happened to look up. She suddenly cringed and raced back into the jungle. A few moments later she reemerged, only to look up again and show exactly the same startled reaction.
“I half expected to see a large eagle circling,” Richard told us, “but stepping out from under my tarpaulin canopy, I was rewarded with this fabulous sky, which was undoubtedly the cause of the young gorilla’s alarm.”
Clearly, the incident points towards a remarkable evolutionary development for the gorilla species: their ability to react emotionally to cloudscapes. This gorilla’s reaction may not have been quite the one we’d have hoped for, but it is perhaps forgivable. No doubt, if you were the first of your species to behold the drama and beauty of the Cirrocumulus undulatus cloud, you too would be in a state of shock.