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Keywords:

  • Gorilla;
  • self-recognition;
  • mirror image

Abstract

Two zoo-reared gorillas were each given nearly 400 h of mirror exposure. Extensive mirror gazing and social behaviors were exhibited, the frequency of which decreased gradually over the study period. Neither animal demonstrated the transition from other-directed to self-directed behavior characteristic of both chimpanzees and orangutans, and no evidence of self-recognition was found using the Gallup marking paradigm. These negative findings, after extensive mirror exposure, suggest that the gorilla may be the only great ape which lacks the conceptual ability necessary for self-recognition.