Describe the major features of non-human primate behavior through observations and generate explanations of these behaviors.


Over the past 50 years, certain regions in Africa have experienced industrial forestry and agricultural development that has significantly reduced the area of the natural forest. As humans develop previously isolated areas, the interaction between humans and non-human primates increases. Through these interactions human diseases can be transmitted to primates, and the likelihood of hunting or poaching can also increase. Gorilla populations throughout Africa have been profoundly impacted. In this paper you will explore the numerous factors that are placing pressure on gorilla communities in various regions of Africa. In this assignment, you will address the ANTH215 Course Learning Outcomes to:


  • Describe the major features of non-human primate behavior through observations and generate explanations of these behaviors.


This assignment will also hone your ability in five areas of General Education Competencies:

  1. Written and oral communication
  2. Scientific and quantitative reasoning
  3. Critical analysis and reasoning
  4. Technological competency
  5. Information literacy


The purpose of this paper is for students to examine the relationship between the dwindling gorilla populations and human-induced changes to natural habitats. Through video observations you will explore the social and biological nature of gorilla communities in Africa, particularly their patterns of communication, foraging, reproduction and group formation. Relating your data from the video observation to your research on challenges and threats to gorilla communities, you will complete a risk assessment chart and develop recommendations for the conservation of gorilla habitats. Please answer all of the questions using an essay format and complete all seven tasks including the observation chart and the risk assessment chart. Consult Credo


World Wildlife Federation at and

National Geographic at

Endangered Species International at

National Zoo at


Research Review

Task 2:  What are the threats and challenges to the survival of gorilla populations in the wild? Consult two articles in Academic Search Complete to find multiple positions about the challenges you described. Write two paragraphs from what you have learned in your sources. Your thesis statement should be included here.  Make sure to critically evaluate these sources before incorporating them into your paper.  To do this, use the tutorial on evaluating information on the web:

Observations and Description

Task 3: Watch the video The Gorilla King, linked below. Please complete the observation form that is provided at the end of this assignment to record your notes. For your final submission please type in your observation notes directly on the electronic copy.

The Gorilla King:

Based upon your observations from the film, describe the nature of gorillas in the wild, their social behaviors, communication, patterns of foraging, reproduction and group formation. Describe the ecological and behavioral adaptations that are very specific to gorillas that might increase their risk of extinction?  (minimum length, 3 paragraphs)


Analysis and Recommendation

Task 4:  While all four species of gorillas are considered to be endangered, not all gorillas in Africa are under the same level of threat. Complete the risk assessment chart below using data from the internet websites provided in Task 1. Note that accurate background data from each species is required. Please enter your notes directly onto the electronic copy of the chart. Note that the first row of the chart has been partially completed to show you how it should be done.  In the risk assessment box,

*state which level of risk you believe that particular gorilla species is under; high, moderate, low, no risk?   

Task 5:  Once the chart is filled out, consider existing population numbers, the type and size of the gorilla habitats, and the type of threats or challenges each species is facing. Recommend which species, in which region, should receive priority in terms of protection, conservation assistance and funding. Please support your recommendation with reasoning and facts. Briefly describe a conservation plan that might work (minimum length, two paragraphs).


Task 6:  Please write one concluding paragraph. This paragraph should incorporate the new information you have gathered from your research.

Task 7: Please write two – paragraph reflection describing how your ideas about endangered species, the ethical treatment of animals and human impacts to natural habitats may have changed as a result of the research you did for this paper. Have your ideas about your place in the natural world changed?


A minimum of four sources are required for this assignment. Please use MLA style for formatting the works cited and the in-text parenthetical citations. Your paper should be at least 4-6 pages of writing in length and with a separate works cited page that is not counted in the 4-6 required pages of writing.

Guidelines for Writing the Paper

Please type your essay in Microsoft Word in 12 pt. Times New Roman using double spacing and indented paragraphs. Make sure you write clearly about your ideas and use all the aids that you need in Word (spellcheck, etc.). The style of the piece should be that of social science writing used in Anthropology.

ANTH 215: Human Evolution and Archaeology

Primate Observation – The Gorilla Ki


  1. Watch the PBS video, The Gorilla King.
  2. Record group and/or individual behaviors for every five-minute interval for a period of thirty minutes. It would be helpful to review Chapter 4 of your textbook, which discusses various primate behaviors, before you begin your observation of the film.

Begin your observations at the beginning of the film. Note that for each five-minute interval the total number of individuals observed should be recorded. For your final submission please type your notes directly onto the chart and send as part of the assignment.