Carmen started at the zoo back when Guy the gorilla was the main attraction and Desmond Morris was head curator of mammals. Carmen claimed that all the male gorillas over the years have had human females fall in love with them, but no ape was ever more popular than Guy. Several women, he claimed, had offered their services to the zoo should it ever consider a human-gorilla hybrid breeding programme the zoo declined. As several of these women still retained ties to the zoo, I asked if Carmen could put me in touch.
Gorilla sexual intrigue could explain human monogamy
Researchers at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia found that the female apes were more amorous on days their peers were having sex — even when they could not fall pregnant themselves. Dr Tara Stoinski and her team monitored four female apes for two years, counting how often they approached their mate and actually had sex. According to New Scientist magazine, even females who were already pregnant or breastfeeding young copulated more often when their peers were on heat.
Female gorillas have been documented engaging in lesbian sex for the first time. While many species of male primates are well known to engage in homosexual behaviour, females have been subject to far less attention. Female gorillas have also been observed having lesbian sex in Uganda, but the data has not been published or subject to scrutiny.