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Thumbs up for gorilla

The 14-year-old male Western lowland gorilla named N’Dowe (pronounced Endovay) appears to be doing the hand-jive in these photos, taken by Zoo regular and keen photographer Miriam Haas.

A gorilla hand is like a human hand, with four fingers and an opposable thumb. Opposable means the thumb can move to touch the other fingers, giving the ability to grasp things.

Human thumbs are usually longer than those of other primates, and humans can move their thumbs further across their hand than any other primate. But the gorillas win, as they have opposable thumbs AND opposable toes!

Keepers have described N’Dowe as a great thinker and a gentle soul who will pretty much eat anything and everything that he’s given. He shares a complex of dens and a large island with fellow adult males Pertinax (born in 1982), Kiondo and Kivu (both 15).