A six-year-old gorilla was photographed celebrating her birthday in Zoo Atlanta in August 2019.
Photos of the primate named Anaka were taken by the employees at the facility and shared on Facebook.
And those shots caught the eyes of viewers who were naturally stunned to see how human-like a gorilla’s hands really are when stripped of their usual dark grey skin tone.
Anaka the gorilla lacks pigmentation on a patch of her hand.
A close-up picture of the pinkish-beige patch showed that a gorilla’s hand looks remarkably human-like.
And they should because humans and gorillas share a common ancestor about 10 million years ago.
Gorillas, like humans, have opposable thumbs.
They do not have claws, unlike many animals.
Rather, they have fingernails and toenails.
Nails are used for opening and scraping things, cleaning, and scratching.
And like all primates, they also have individualised fingerprints and toeprints.
These unique and defining characteristics allow them to be used for identification purposes.
Most likely a birthmark
According to the zoo, Anaka’s skin colour is not a short-term condition or one that needs to be cured.
Some people were thinking Anaka has vitiligo, a long-term skin condition characterised by patches of the skin losing their pigment.
A curious visitor asked the zoo about Anaka’s condition and received a reply.
The zoo reportedly wrote back to the visitor, saying: “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.”
Anaka’s rare physical trait is also as unique as her personality.
The zoo wrote on its website: “She has a unique pink and white pigmentation in her fingers and a very unique personality, often barking at her mom and others to get a prime spot for food and juice. She is often seen riding piggyback on her brother and sisters.”