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Another year, another epic birthday for Colo, the oldest known gorilla on Earth.

Colo, the world's oldest gorilla, is a great-great-grandma at the Columbus Zoo.

Another year, another epic birthday for Colo, the oldest known gorilla on Earth.

Today, Colo — the oldest living gorilla in captivity — turns 59 years old!

In Ohio, where Colo lives at the Columbus Zoo, they're celebrating in style.


A photo from this party animal's 58th birthday last year. Photo courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

"It's not yet the big 6-0," Audra Meinelt, an assistant curator at the zoo, said in a press release provided to Upworthy. "But it's the big 5-9."

59 years old may not seem that outrageous. But for gorillas? It's a big deal.

Seeing as the average female gorilla lives about 37 years, Colo's matriarchal status as the "queen of the Columbus Zoo" is seriously deserved.

Colo isn't new to this whole "making headlines" thing, either. She's been a celebrity in her own right for decades.

Long before Colo first began setting records for her old age in 2012, Colo made news for being the very first gorilla to be born in human care. That was way back in 1956.

Check out the video evidence below.

All GIFs via the ColumbusZooMedia/YouTube.

Seeing as she was the first gorilla to be born in a zoo, mistakes were made while raising her. They'd separated her from her mother out of fear that her mother would harm her, for example.

"Everyone was terrified to give her back to her mom," veterinarian Dr. Richard Vesper told The Columbus Dispatch. "Their fears overwhelmed their scientific rationale, and they wouldn’t take the risk. They made decisions at the gut level.”

But much was learned about the species and its protection because of Colo and her long, long bloodline. She's the great-grandmother of Timu, the first surviving baby gorilla conceived through artificial insemination.

And, by the way, since Timu gave birth to her first little one in 2003, Colo is a great-great-grandmother.

Clearly, Colo's big day is a big deal. So the zoo celebrated with cake, special surprises, and lots of colorful construction paper chains.

And the whole world was invited.

Photo, taken at Colo's 58th birthday party, courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

Partygoers dropped in between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2015, to celebrate with Colo, who snacked on treats of clementines and tomatoes and opened presents. Rumor has it there were also some specially made cupcakes for her and her gorilla friends.

Even cooler, those of us who couldn't be in Columbus got to watch the party online. (Last year, 4,000 people from 31 countries did just that to ring in Colo's 58th year.)

As far as her health? Colo's in great shape.

There's no reason to think there won't be a 60th birthday coming next holiday season.

Photo taken at Colo's 58th birthday party, courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

“She is amazing because she is the oldest gorilla in a zoo and doesn’t have significant health problems,” Meinelt said. “Her biggest ailment is arthritis. She hasn’t had any noticeable health changes in the last year. Her health has been fantastic.”

Cheers to another year well-lived, Queen.

Check out this incredible video that was produced by the Columbus Zoo in recognition of Colo's 57th birthday a couple years ago:

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

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Nomination ends November 22, 2020

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