The Atlanta Zoo shared that the gorilla, named Anaka, has a personality that is just as unique as her skin.
The evolution of DNA is an ever-changing process that occurs within each and every animal and plant. Thanks to modern science, we can, however, find the rate of change fairly easily, but every once in a while we come across a specimen or two which totally blows our minds. A gorilla in Atlanta Zoo recently turned 6 and the zoo had a really fun birthday party for her. The happy caretakers from the zoo snapped a few pictures of Anaka, the gorilla, now a big girl, and shared them on social media. As people began to send their heartfelt wishes to the zoo, they all noticed something unusual yet cool.
HAVE Y’ALL SEEN THE GORILLA WITH THE HUMAN HAND*— the(a) rest of your story 🦋 (@kylorenvevo) January 22, 2020
*Actually the pinkish pigmentation on her fingers pic.twitter.com/1OIVOIQjsY
Anaka had a unique patch of skin pigmentation on her hand. It did not look like the typical gorilla color as the rest of her body did. The picture shows a close-up of a patch of pink skin which makes her hand look remarkably like a human one. Considering that gorillas like humans have opposable thumbs, the color of the skin was literally the only difference separating the two, and with Anaka's case, even that's gone.
This gorilla named Anaka is from Zoo Atlanta. Some people were thinking Anaka has vitiligo, a long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment. However, it could also be a cool birthmark. pic.twitter.com/ES88vDqZQr— Hominid Evolution Fun Facts by Alexandra Kralick (@BioAnthFunFacts) December 26, 2019
Similar to all other primates, gorillas come with their own unique individualized fingerprints and toe prints, which are often used for identification purposes. They use their hands and feet for opening, scraping, cleaning, and scratching things, unlike other animals that have claws, Bored Panda reports. According to the zoo, not only is Anaka’s skin unique, but her personality is as well. "[She’s] often barking at her mom and others to get a prime spot for food and juice," they wrote on their website. "She is often seen riding piggyback on her brother and sisters."
As people began to see these pictures, some wondered if Anaka had vitiligo, which is a long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment. One person who wrote to the zoo, Morena Lale, informed them that it wasn't the case. She'd asked the zoo about it and they did not confirm that to be true. She said, "I asked this question … and this is their reply: 'Well, her skin pigment has always been like that and hasn’t changed over the years, so we think it’s just a cool birthmark.'"
The condition is quite uncommon in animals, but there have been cases of vitiligo in cats, dogs, and even horses. Just like with humans, vitiligo in animals is a cosmetic affliction. The loss of pigmentation is most evident, leading to a unique looking coat forming. Pets who have vitiligo are still said to live long and healthy lives so it's not a threat to their mortality. Many cases of vitiligo in pets appear to be hereditary. Certain dog breeds are at a higher genetic risk of developing this condition.
Gorilla fingers.— Frenz Drone (@FrenzDrone) December 26, 2019
At the Atlanta Zoo, the gorilla Anaka has a lack of pigmentation at her fingers. pic.twitter.com/SAYwrn56x3
Zoo Atlanta's mission is to strive to inspire the citizens of Atlanta and Georgia and all visitors at the Zoo to value wildlife on Earth and to help safeguard existing species through conservation. People were understandably surprised by her unique features. Susan McWilliams Gilchrist said, "Oh wow. They look human!!!" Another noted, "Just shows how close we actually are to them". Allen Jeanette Mull stated, "I have never seen monkey hands and would never have an opportunity to especially up close like this! Such a cool picture!"