Reading Male lowland gorillas stage spectacular fountains to impress their rivals. This is reported by Richard Parnell and Hannah Buchanan-Smith of the British University of Stirling in the journal Nature (Issue 412, No. 6844, p. 294). Above all, the mighty silverback under the gorilla males run and jump into the shallow water or produce large fountains of water with their hands. In the swampy clearings they are thus visible even at greater distances. The attraction of females, however, does not seem to be the purpose of the unusual idea: in half of the cases observed, not even a female was in sight.

Scientists have never observed that primates use water for communication. Of the better-researched mountain gorillas, this behavior is at least not known. In the dense forests, the fountains would not be visible over long distances, the researchers explain.

Researchers from the Scottish Primacy Research Group studied 124 gorillas in the northern forests of the Congo for 32 months.

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