Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gorilla Practical Jokes and the Sasquatch Parallel

I’m providing a link below to a video entitled Gorilla Pranks Zoo Workers. I would have liked to embed the video here for easier viewing but that option was not enabled on YouTube. So, please humor me and take a look at the clip here.

The 27-second video clip features a large silverback gorilla throwing a piece of sod at zoo workers who are going about their business in an adjacent enclosure. The big male casually makes his way to an area where the turf is loose, digs out a piece, and then quickly moves toward the workers using his momentum to make a powerful overhand throw. The people shooting the video get quite a kick out of this behavior and their laughter is audible as the gorilla quickly flees the scene after chucking the piece of turf. There isn’t much doubt that this is a clip suitable for America’s Funniest Videos. It is, indeed, humorous.

I think there is more to be learned from it, however.

First, notice how the big silverback stops far short of the patch of ground that is not covered in grass. Granted, the big fella has very long arms but it would have been easier to get to and pull up the piece of sod had he gotten a bit closer. Could this be an effort to not leave trace evidence of his presence (tracks)? Chimpanzees are known to cover their tracks. This implies that the great apes have a sense of self-awareness far greater than that of most animals. Could this gorilla be making a concerted effort to avoid leaving signs of his presence at the “scene of the crime?” Maybe. I’m reminded a bit of some of the circumstances surrounding the collection of the Skookum cast. The cast is thought to be of a body print of a sasquatch by many and was taken from a muddy elk wallow in Skamania County, Washington that had been baited with fruit. You can get more detail on the Skookum cast here. While controversial, many feel this cast is one of the very best pieces of physical evidence ever collected that points to the sasquatch being a real flesh and blood animal.

According to the theory, the sasquatch actually lay down in order to reach out and grab the fruit in the middle of the mud hole. Why? It would have been very easy for the animal to simply take a step into the wallow and grab the bait. The only thing that really makes sense is that the creature was doing its very best to avoid leaving footprints. The long arms often described by sasquatch witnesses, not unlike the arms on the silverback in the video, would have helped in this endeavor. One might argue that this behavior would not make much sense for an animal that lives its life in a zoo. Instincts are quite powerful, however, and animals continue to do what they are born to do even in zoos.

The second thing that really struck me was how the gorilla threw the sod. To say it was a true overhand motion would not be accurate but, to put it in baseball terms, it was at least a three-quarter motion. Many have seen monkeys and chimps toss rocks, limbs, nuts, etc. in a clumsy underhanded motion. To see a non-human primate throw an object in a powerful overhand manner is pretty special. Rock and limb throwing is a behavior that has often been attributed to sasquatches. Often, these projectiles have been hurled at a high velocity. Skeptics have argued that only humans can throw objects in such a manner. This video would seem to suggest otherwise. While the silverback’s motion is not as fluid as that of a human throwing a baseball, he effectively uses a running start to build momentum and, thus, velocity on his throw. Imagine instead of a clump of dirt and grass it had been a softball-sized rock thrown at this velocity. It could have caused some damage. I have been in remote locations when rocks and sticks have been thrown. Sometimes people have been the targets and other times vehicles, cabins, or other objects have been in the line of fire. If one can acknowledge the possibility the sasquatch actually exists, then it shouldn’t be too far of a stretch to think it would engage in this sort of activity. One curious aspect to all of this is that, while objects have landed very near me and other people I know, nobody has ever actually been hit. Inanimate objects, on the other hand, routinely take a beating. Are sasquatches inaccurate throwers or, to the contrary, quite accurate. Are the objects thrown in the directions of humans meant as a warning? Do they miss humans on purpose and differentiate between living beings and inanimate objects? If so, it hints that these creatures are actually very accurate when throwing objects. Could this aid them in hunting? As usual, there are many, many more questions than answers.

The final behavior exhibited by the silverback in the video that we might be able to learn something from is how he flees immediately after making his throw. He doesn’t even wait for the sod to land before he is on the run. This, much like the act of avoiding leaving tracks, is instinctual. He did not want to be seen by the targets of his throw. Now, he isn’t really fooling anyone, as the zoo workers know who lives in the enclosure next door; however, he doesn’t know that or, likely, care. The gorilla is following his instincts and getting out of Dodge after doing something that would draw eyes to his location. Again, there would seem to be a correlation to this behavior and that of sasquatches who engage in rock and stick throwing in the most remote corners of North America. Think about it. When an object lands near you the first thing that happens is that your eyes go to where the object landed. Only after this do you turn your head to look in the direction from which the object came. If the sasquatch behaves like the gorilla in the clip then it would already be retreating to a concealed spot before any object it throws hits the ground. Add to this that the sasquatch is thought to be larger than a mountain gorilla and capable of bipedal movement and you have an animal that could likely throw objects from longer distances. This being the case, you would have almost zero chance to catch one of these creatures in the act.

All of this is speculation, of course, but that is pretty much all we can do for now. I do feel strongly that my theories are not wild or baseless. All my thoughts are based on physical descriptions of the sasquatch given to us by witnesses, known and observed great ape behaviors, and personal experiences. I think the only way my speculations sound foolish is if you cannot or will not accept the possibility that the sasquatch exists. If that is your position then it likely doesn’t matter what sort of argument I, or anyone else, presents.

Not having that bias, I see more and more parallels between known great ape behaviors and those attributed to the sasquatch by witnesses.


  1. I think that Gorilla is not happy with workers so he is showing his anger.

  2. I think it's hilarious! I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago last week. I was watching the gorillas that were just on the other side of a glass enclosure. A female turned and looked at me. I made eye contact. She immediately climbed a pole and got her rear end eye level with me. She turned and looked at me, and then urinated on the glass right in front of my face lol Gotta love great apes!