Ape strength
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29-04-2012, 12:10 AM
Ape strength
I came across a humorous blog entry detailing the reason why apes are so much stronger than humans:

Quote:The strength of great apes… « mental indigestion

The next time you’re down the pub, engaging your favourite Chimpanzee in an arm wrestle, I want you to reflect on a few things (besides the absurdity of wrestling an Ape).

As you take up the strain, know that the fine-tuned positioning and slow, steady building of muscle force you exert is due to the greater amount of grey matter that you posses in your spinal cord; motor neuron nerves cells that connect to muscle fibres and regulate muscle movement. The huge surplus of motor neurons you possess allows you to engage smaller portions of your muscles at any given time. A Chimpanzee, by comparison, has fewer motor neurons, thus each neuron triggers a greater number of muscle fibres, resulting in a greater proportion of muscle activation.

Reflect on how this finely tuned, incremental strength allows you to engage in tensing your muscle for a longer period. It is this fine motor control that allows you to do delicate tasks, like be victorious on the Nintendo Wii or replace the RAM in your laptop, and you know that if the RAM chip stubbornly refuses to slot back into place, you can gently exert greater and greater precise force until it does.

Finally, as the arm wrestle begins in earnest, reflect on two last things: one, your brain limits the degree of your muscle activation in an attempt to prevent damage to the fine motor control components of your muscles; and two, a Chimpanzee has no such limitation. So as the Chimpanzee tears off your arm easily and beats you over the head with it, think to yourself that rather than engaging in an arm wrestle with a Chimp, which has four times your strength, try sitting at home playing your Nintendo Wii instead, the precise motions for which it seems we are supremely evolved.

The info comes from a paper by Prof. Alan Walker called "The strength of Great Apes and the speed of Humans." I am currently reading a copy of it that I found on JSTOR. It mentions a past experiment where two Chimps were tested against college football players:

Quote:Bauman (1923, 1926) showed that adult male and female chimpanzees held long in captivity were much stronger than any of several fit young football players when normalized for body mass. He had the animals (when they felt like it) and the students pull on a calibrated metal loop dynamometer. The female recorded a two-handed pull of 1,260 pounds,while the male recorded a one-handed pull of 847 pounds. The strongest student managed a one-handed pull of 210 pounds and a two-handed pull of 491 pounds. When normalized for body mass, this meant that the chimpanzees were more than four times as strong as the men.

I watched a brief documentary on gorillas the other day that speculated that they are eight to nine times stronger than humans! Could you imagine being that strong?
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29-04-2012, 06:54 AM
RE: Ape strength
It would only be interesting if that was an advantage uniquely mine. If everyone was that way, I suspect things would be very similar to things as they are now, though utensils would be much thicker, furnature would be reinforced, and World Extreme Cagefighting a fight to the death.

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29-04-2012, 07:42 AM
RE: Ape strength
(29-04-2012 06:54 AM)Debzilla Wrote:  It would only be interesting if that was an advantage uniquely mine. If everyone was that way, I suspect things would be very similar to things as they are now, though utensils would be much thicker, furnature would be reinforced, and World Extreme Cagefighting a fight to the death.

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29-04-2012, 08:25 AM
RE: Ape strength
Bucky, what is "Terse But Deadly????" Is it a club? Is the secret handshake the middle finger and the password "F-you?"
I want in!!!!!


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29-04-2012, 08:51 AM
RE: Ape strength
(29-04-2012 08:25 AM)Debzilla Wrote:  Bucky, what is "Terse But Deadly????" Is it a club? Is the secret handshake the middle finger and the password "F-you?" I want in!!!!!

Maybe I even get my stars back.


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30-04-2012, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2012 01:46 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Ape strength
Someone posted this on a similar thread that I started on another forum:





Just imagine if it was a male.

A person wondered what an ape's "hysterical strength" might be. Hysterical strength is the supposed superhuman strength that humans get in life or death situations. I thought it was an interesting question. I ultimately questioned whether apes would have that ability. The blog mentions that the brains of apes do not limit the amount of strength they can call on since they do not have as many fine motor muscles to protect. Hysterical strength in humans might just be some strange evolutionary "in case of emergency" type adaptation to get around these limits.

I think this info would be good for comic books writers trying to come up with a new superhero. Comic book characters usually get their powers from one of three sources--radiation (earthly or cosmic), magic, or genetic mutation (via nature or experimentation, the latter always being exclusive from radiation for some reason). A writer could use the above info to give a plausible scientific reason for why a particular person has super strength.
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07-07-2012, 01:39 PM
RE: Ape strength
A book I am currently reading mentions the story of a professor taking his students and one of his sign language capable chimpanzees for a walk in the woods. The normally easygoing chimp didn't want to go back, so he climbed up a tree. The professor became angry when he wouldn't respond to his commands to leave the tree. This is because he had recently been given his PhD and didn't want to make a fool of himself in front of his students. This is when he wrapped the leash connected to the chimp's neck around his arm in an attempt to muscle him down. The author states:

Quote: "That was my big mistake. Booee [the chimp] reached down, grabbed the lead with one arm, and lifted me clear off the ground--like a weight lifter curling 180 pounds with no discernible effort. I experienced a long moment of complete terror as I swung helplessly in the wind. My students took a step back."

The professor eventually eased the situation by sweet-talking the chimp. Booee let him down, jumped into his arms, and gave him a big hug.
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12-07-2012, 12:10 AM
RE: Ape strength
(30-04-2012 01:41 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  . Hysterical strength in humans might just be some strange evolutionary "in case of emergency" type adaptation to get around these limits.

I think this info would be good for comic books writers trying to come up with a new superhero..
Bindun. That would be the strength David Banner was trying to tap into using gamma radiation.

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15-07-2012, 12:28 AM
RE: Ape strength
(29-04-2012 12:10 AM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  I came across a humorous blog entry detailing the reason why apes are so much stronger than humans:

Quote:The strength of great apes… « mental indigestion

The next time you’re down the pub, engaging your favourite Chimpanzee in an arm wrestle, I want you to reflect on a few things (besides the absurdity of wrestling an Ape).

As you take up the strain, know that the fine-tuned positioning and slow, steady building of muscle force you exert is due to the greater amount of grey matter that you posses in your spinal cord; motor neuron nerves cells that connect to muscle fibres and regulate muscle movement. The huge surplus of motor neurons you possess allows you to engage smaller portions of your muscles at any given time. A Chimpanzee, by comparison, has fewer motor neurons, thus each neuron triggers a greater number of muscle fibres, resulting in a greater proportion of muscle activation.

Reflect on how this finely tuned, incremental strength allows you to engage in tensing your muscle for a longer period. It is this fine motor control that allows you to do delicate tasks, like be victorious on the Nintendo Wii or replace the RAM in your laptop, and you know that if the RAM chip stubbornly refuses to slot back into place, you can gently exert greater and greater precise force until it does.

Finally, as the arm wrestle begins in earnest, reflect on two last things: one, your brain limits the degree of your muscle activation in an attempt to prevent damage to the fine motor control components of your muscles; and two, a Chimpanzee has no such limitation. So as the Chimpanzee tears off your arm easily and beats you over the head with it, think to yourself that rather than engaging in an arm wrestle with a Chimp, which has four times your strength, try sitting at home playing your Nintendo Wii instead, the precise motions for which it seems we are supremely evolved.

The info comes from a paper by Prof. Alan Walker called "The strength of Great Apes and the speed of Humans." I am currently reading a copy of it that I found on JSTOR. It mentions a past experiment where two Chimps were tested against college football players:

Quote:Bauman (1923, 1926) showed that adult male and female chimpanzees held long in captivity were much stronger than any of several fit young football players when normalized for body mass. He had the animals (when they felt like it) and the students pull on a calibrated metal loop dynamometer. The female recorded a two-handed pull of 1,260 pounds,while the male recorded a one-handed pull of 847 pounds. The strongest student managed a one-handed pull of 210 pounds and a two-handed pull of 491 pounds. When normalized for body mass, this meant that the chimpanzees were more than four times as strong as the men.

I watched a brief documentary on gorillas the other day that speculated that they are eight to nine times stronger than humans! Could you imagine being that strong?

Very cool. I can say one thing, it's very intimidating being close to gorillas - it's one thing in pictures, but when you're within 10 ft. of them it's something completely different. The ones I was around were very laid back, just chilled and ate, but you got a very real sense that they knew they had the upper hand and we weren't a threat to them (even if we had the intent). One of them was a youngster though and quite playful (named Obia by the guides, which means "playful") and decided he wanted to play with us. Which meant walking up to us and tapping us in the chest, then walking off and posing. His "gentle tap" knocked us flat on our back. I can only imagine the power behind an attack...


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21-07-2012, 12:24 PM
RE: Ape strength
(15-07-2012 12:28 AM)Azaraith Wrote:  Very cool. I can say one thing, it's very intimidating being close to gorillas - it's one thing in pictures, but when you're within 10 ft. of them it's something completely different. The ones I was around were very laid back, just chilled and ate, but you got a very real sense that they knew they had the upper hand and we weren't a threat to them (even if we had the intent). One of them was a youngster though and quite playful (named Obia by the guides, which means "playful") and decided he wanted to play with us. Which meant walking up to us and tapping us in the chest, then walking off and posing. His "gentle tap" knocked us flat on our back. I can only imagine the power behind an attack...

Nice story. Yes, being on the business end of an angry gorilla's fist would be very unpleasant. I think I would instantly evacuate my bowels in that situation. Hopefully it would make him feel sorry for me.

One book that I just finished reading mentions a Chimp named "Paleface." He stood at 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 235 pounds, making him one of the biggest chimps ever held in captivity. His children inherited his size, one of which was affectionately known as "The Hulk." I imagine a specimen this size had strength that far exceeded the average chimp.

The author of the aforementioned book stated that a healthy person would have to weigh 750 pounds in order to possess the strength of a chimp. I’m sure they would have to be even bigger to have the strength of a gorilla.

I would actually like to see someone redo the 1926 study (mentioned at the bottom of my first post) that established chimps were 4 times stronger than men. This is for two reasons. The first is that the male and female chimps who (when they felt like it) participated in the experiment were long held in captivity. The chimp facilities of that time didn’t have enrichment activities like high-sided enclosures or some type of jungle gyms that would have enabled them to climb and exercise their bodies. This means the chimps were probably not as strong as those in the wild. The second is that the college football players who participated were so darn tiny. Their weights ranged from 127 to 170 pounds; I calculated the median weight for all 15 of them to be a dismal 149.53 pounds. I’m sure the average college football player of today weighs more than this. Comparing these two modern types would probably give more accurate results.
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