Imagine working at a zoo with a gentle giant of a gorilla known as “Sully.” You’ve bonded with him, you’ve taken care of him, you’ve fed him, and you’ve effectively helped raise him for four years at the zoo. Now, imagine you show up to work, looking forward to another mirthful day with Sully and you see “him” sitting there… coddling “his” new baby? This hilarious and bizarre case of mistaken identity was a real scenario that workers at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio had to deal with last week when workers discovered Sully holding “his” new baby. The zoo took to social media to celebrate — and explain — this commemorative date. “We have an adorable surprise to share with all of you today! Our gorilla family just got a little bigger with the unexpected birth of a female baby gorilla!” the zoo posted to Facebook. “But here’s the other incredible part: our dedicated keepers recently discovered that the proud mom, who was initially believed to be a male, is actually a female gorilla. Talk about a surprise twist!” Just to clarify, this isn’t a matter of some obscure gender anomaly or a matter of transgenderism — Sully was simply misidentified as a male. In a separate news release, the Columbus Zoo offered further explanation about how Sully was presumed to be a male gorilla for the last four years (Sully has been at the Columbus Zoo since 2019.) “It’s hard to tell the sex of younger gorillas,” the zoo explained in the release. “Until about age 8, males and females are about the same size, and they don’t have prominent sex organs. As gorillas age, they become sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females look very different. However, males don’t develop their characteristic large size, silver backs, and large head bumps (called sagittal crests) until age 12 or later.” So… why didn’t they do any further tests? In short, because Sully, regardless of gender, was a perfectly healthy gorilla whence she arrived in Ohio. “Veterinarians at the zoo where Sully was born maintained a hands-off approach in their care, as Sully was a healthy baby being well-cared for by her mother,” the zoo said. “While Sully was initially identified as male, upon arriving at the Columbus Zoo, Sully was a young and healthy animal and did not need any procedures requiring immobilization that would have led to this discovery sooner. “For the safety of the animals, professional zoos employ anesthesia only when absolutely necessary for medical reasons.” As far as external pregnancy indicators go, those aren’t nearly as helpful with gorillas as they are with humans. “Gorillas rarely show outward signs of pregnancy because the newborns are smaller than human babies and gorillas naturally have large abdomens,” the zoo explained. “The Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, which protects gorillas in their native lands, says its trackers are always happily surprised to see a newborn, because they have no way to tell that a baby is on the way.” As for what’s next, it appears that Sully’s newfound gender is as big of a surprise as she and her new baby will have to deal with. The zoo reports that the Sully and the baby are both healthy and happy, and are being accepted by their troop (the term for a group of gorillas.) There also doesn’t appear to be any health concern for the mother, as she is a healthy 8-year-old gorilla and gorillas can biologically reproduce at age 5. As for who the father may be, the zoo plans on determining that shortly, as there are three males in Sully’s troop. And perhaps to avoid any future totally unexpected surprises, the zoo confirmed Sully had a daughter this time around. “It’s a girl! Our team confirmed that visually and with photographs that were also sent to a primate expert at another leading zoological facility.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.