Gorilla gorilla and the less-studied G. beringei occupy very different, geographically separate habitats. We studied the occurrence of various forms of arthritis to examine possible nature/nurture causality. The macerated skeletons of 38 G. beringei and 99 G. gorilla individuals were examined macroscopically for the presence of articular and osseous pathologies. Contrasting with only isolated osteoarthritis and infectious arthritis was the frequent occurrence of a form of erosive arthritis associated with joint fusion. Twenty-one percent of the G. beringei and 20% of G. gorilla specimens were afflicted, which are statistically indistinguishable frequencies. While both had prominent axial disease, they differed in patterns of peripheral arthritis. Whereas G. beringei showed a pauciarticular pattern, the pattern in G. gorilla was more often polyarticular. Susceptibility to spondyloarthropathy was apparently genetically imprinted before Gorilla separated into G. gorilla and G. beringei. However, the different patterns of peripheral joint involvement suggest a causality resulting from lifestyle (e.g., the presence/absence or extent of knuckle walking) or a habitat-related infectious agent.