One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mature male mountain gorilla, distinguished by an area of white or silvery hair across the back and acting as the dominant member of its social group.
- ‘Then a female gorilla, followed by one of the silverbacks, began to climb up the trunk.’
- ‘The gorillas are big silverbacks; one male, a bunch of females and quite a few cute little youngsters rolling around.’
- ‘Families are headed by a silverback (mature adult male) and usually include a harem of three of four adult females and their respective offspring.’
- ‘Then another gorilla shows up below her, this one a silverback, or mature male, that appears to weigh at least 400 pounds.’
- ‘If confronted by a hunter, silverbacks may stay behind and position themselves between the hunter and the fleeing gorilla family.’
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