Gorillas hum when they eat and researchers want to know why

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Gorillas Sometimes Hum When They Eat, and Researchers Want to Know Why

Gorillas sometimes hum and sing while they eat, and a new study could help scientists figure out why.

Researchers recorded a group of wild western lowland gorillas during meal times to capture these noises.

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One researcher told New Scientist: "They don't sing the same song over and over. It seems like they are composing their little food songs."

The study, published in PLOS One, found older males had a higher chance of vocalizing while eating. They also found the gorillas made the noises more while munching on certain foods, like flowers or seeds.

There's still not a lot known about gorillas' food sounds, but the researchers speculate that they could play some kind of social role. For instance, the older males might be letting everyone know it's meal time.

Or they could be making the noises because they really like what they're eating.

Also take a look at these majestic gorillas:

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Gorillas hum when they eat and researchers want to know why
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, members of a family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, take a rest in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, tourists Sarah and John Scott from Worcester, England, take a step back as a male silverback mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, unexpectedly steps out from the bush to cross their path in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a male silverback mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, sits in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a male silverback mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, sits in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a baby mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, clings to the back of its mother as she forages for food in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a male silverback mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, nurses a small wound on his hand in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, tourist Stephen Fernandez, center-right, takes photos of a male silverback mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, forages for food high in a tree in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, tourists climb through dense vegetation and forest to see the mountain gorillas on Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a mountain gorilla from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, chews on leaves under tall bamboo in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a male silverback mountain gorilla, left, opens his mouth as a mother and baby sit next to him, right, from the family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, park guide Ferdinand Ndamiyabo briefs tourists before their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, the peak of Mount Bisoke volcano where mountain gorillas live is seen above the flowers of potatoes grown by local farmers just outside the boundary of Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, park rangers lead tourists to locate a family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, a member of a family of mountain gorillas named Amahoro, which means "peace" in the Rwandan language, takes a rest in the dense forest on the slopes of Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, traditional dancers entertain tourists prior to them being briefed by park rangers before their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, local farmers work on the land just outside Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, local farmers work on the land just outside Volcanoes National Park, northern Rwanda. Deep in Rwanda's steep-sloped forest, increasing numbers of tourists are heading to see the mountain gorillas, a subspecies whose total population is an estimated 900 and who also live in neighboring Uganda and Congo, fueling an industry seen as key to the welfare of the critically endangered species as well as Rwanda's economy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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