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Human history is saturated with myths and legends. There are examples like Greek mythology that are completely fabulous, and there are more realistic ones, although all of them seem to be fictions or strong embellishments. But there are also myths and legends that, after examination by historians, have proven to be true. Until the mid-19th century, gorillas were considered something like Bigfoot, a dubious legend. Gorillas were first described as early as 500 B.C., but there was no confirmation of the actual existence of these animals. It was not until 1847 that Thomas Savage and Jeffries Wyman described in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History the primate now known as the western gorilla. It was compiled from bones and skulls found by researchers, after which the scientific community began to wonder about the reality of this legend. The gorilla was first seen live in 1856 by French explorer Paul Du Chailloux while traveling through western equatorial Africa. After bringing several gorillas to Great Britain in 1861, science officially recognized the existence of these primates. In the King Kong movies, a huge ape smashes everything around him, and only a young unarmed woman manages to subdue him. This plot is similar to the story of Diane Fossey, an American ethologist and wildlife advocate. Since her childhood Diane Fossey (1932-1985) was drawn to Africa, the continent with the richest nature and incredible diversity of animals living in the wild. At the age of 31 she decided to fulfill her dream: she took a loan and set off on the long-awaited trip. She also wanted to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Both goals were achieved. Fossey wrote about her first encounter with these primates in her book Gorillas in the Fog. The animals conquered Diane, but she had to go back. A few years later, she met Professor Leakey again, this time during the scientist's lecture tour of the United States. At first, the researcher's main task was to accustom the gorillas to her presence. Diane Fossey was one of the first to tell the world about the serene disposition of these creatures. When meeting the leader, she found out that on no account should run away. It is necessary to squat and bow your head without looking into the eyes of the leader (monkeys, like many other animals, regard a direct look as a threat). This was enough to make the giant beast go away. Diane saw her task not only as studying these animals, but also as protecting them from poachers. They hunted gorillas for meat (native Africans have for centuries eaten great apes) and as souvenirs for Europeans, and sold the cubs to zoos. Catching one animal often resulted in shooting the other members of the family: the family ties in gorilla families are very close, so they fight to the last man. The principled explorer put more than one gorilla killer behind bars, and in 1985 she was killed herself - hacked to death with a machete (a knife for cutting reeds), apparently by the same poachers. Thanks to Diane Fossey, the problem of saving mountain gorillas has become a universal one, and we can still observe them in their natural habitat. About life among these amazing animals, their habits and her desperate fight for each individual Fossey wrote the bestseller Gorillas in the Mist, which 30 years later remains the best-selling book about the "black devils. Koko, a 46-year-old female gorilla, is considered one of the smartest great apes. Koko's IQ is 95, which corresponds to the intelligence of a normal human. She is well aware of the past and the future; she knows such abstract concepts as boredom and imagination; she can joke, recognize other people's emotions, be sad and even call names. When Koko's partner, a gorilla named Michael, ripped the leg off her rag doll, the angry female called him a "dirty bad toilet." Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is home to the Karisoke Research Center, where Diane Fossey worked from 1967 to 1985. The word "Karisoke" is made up of the names of the Karisimbi and Visoke mountains to the north and south of the research center. Today, primatologists from all over the world work here. It's hard to imagine that just half a century ago the site of a world-famous research center was just a few tents in the middle of a rainforest!