An Analysis of Gorillas as Zoogeomorphic Agents

  • Andrea Pinon Texas State University
  • David R Butler Texas State University
Keywords: gorilla, zoogeomorphology, geomorphology, Africa


Gorillas are among the most charismatic and well-researched species on the planet, yet their role as zoogeomorphic agents has gone largely overlooked. Knowledge on how gorillas contribute to landscape formation and decay is vital for future conservation planning and habitat suitability modeling. The purpose of this study is to conduct a content analysis of literature to identify gorilla zoogeomorphic activity and to aggregate and organize data into nine zoogeomorphic categories. Data obtained was used to provide a qualitative and quantitative summary of inter/intra-specific gorilla zoogeomorphic activity, and the extent of literature available on the subject. Categories of gorilla zoogeomorphic activity include: (1) soil scratching and (2) soil scraping of the forest floor; (3) excavating chambers and holes; (4) bare/semi-bare soil nest site building; (5) hand/knuckle and footprints; (6) excavating insect mounds; (7) tool use and associated geomorphic implications (8) trunk uprooting, and (9) trampling. All four gorilla sub-species (G. gorilla, G. beringei, G. graueri, G. dielhi) were represented in the literature with evidence presented from nine countries in central Africa. Nest construction, mound disturbance, and excavated surface depressions were most frequently documented. Nests and mounds each made up 22 percent and excavated holes encompassed 16 percent of the literature. Soil-scraping, tool use, and trunk uprooting were poorly represented making up 6 percent, 1 percent, and 2 percent of the total literature, respectively.


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How to Cite
Pinon, A., & Butler, D. (2022). An Analysis of Gorillas as Zoogeomorphic Agents. Revista De Geomorfologie, 24(2), 5-15.