When Thomas Savage attempted to develop the first scientific classification of the large primate we know as the gorilla, he reached back over 2,000 years and found a word in a long-filed and nearly-forgotten report.
Carthaginian admiral Hanno traveled around 60 BC from Carthage (in present-day Tunisia) down the western coast of Africa. Along the way, he encountered hairy, aggressive creatures he called “gorillai” (Γόριλλαι). It was this term Thomas Savage used in naming the modern-day gorilla.
Interestingly enough, that original term can best be interpreted as “a tribe of hairy women.”
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