Gorillas have a unique dining ritual – they sing while they eat. Throughout the world, these majestic creatures are known to produce sounds that echo their surroundings, often in unison with each other. These unique vocalizations give a sense of peace and joy to the experience of enjoying their favorite meals.
It all started when a robot spy infiltrated a herd of gorillas. It was so realistic that the other members accepted him as part of the group at dinner time. And so he proved that gorillas sing while they dine.
It is well known that primates have behaviors very similar to those of human beings. Even in moments of intimate coexistence. For example, when it comes to sitting down to share food. To prove this, a PBS robot infiltrated a herd of wild gorillas in Uganda. And he caught them singing at dinnertime.
This insertion was carried out to follow up a documentary series. It is dedicated to following animals in their natural habitats closely, observing their behaviors in the environment. It is called Nature: Spy in the Wild 2. And the idea was to make the gorillas unaware of the intruder.
A robot was created that was realistic enough for the animals to integrate it into their community. The attempt was a success, as they accepted it as a member of the group. They did not realize that it was, in fact, a spy.
To the human eye it is easy to tell the difference between a real person and a robot. But not so for the herd featured in this installment of the documentary. For the producer, Matt Gordon, it was essential to be able to mimic the group.
Singing and dining
“Visual communication is very important among gorillas. In the footage of the first episode, the gorillas came right up to our spy and looked him straight in the eye. So we made sure that the gorilla had as much detail on his face as possible.”
In the company of the camera contained in the robot, the curious behavior of these primates was observed. Indeed, gorillas sing while they dine. Older gorillas do it more often than younger ones. Moreover, it is an activity performed more by males than by females. Certain gorillas were more likely to sing while eating plants and seeds rather than insects.