Facts And Theories Regarding Chimpanzee Strength
When reading articles about chimpanzee strength the phrase "5 to 8 times" often pops up, that being the difference in strength between humans (the weaker of the two) and the chimp (the stronger of the two). While those numbers are often presented as facts, they've been shown to be somewhat exaggerated, maybe quite a bit exaggerated, though there's no doubt that pound for pound, chimpanzees are much stronger than people.
Estimates of chimpanzee strength is based largely on isolated incidents where the chimpanzee has demonstrated impressive feats of strength. If you were to wrestle a chimpanzee (it probably wouldn't cooperate, and might even bite) you couldn't pin one down. Neither could a professional heavyweight wrestler for that matter. The animal is that strong. Since you couldn't pin it down, it's fair to say the chimp is stronger, and one might even estimate it is twice as strong. But how a figure of 5 to 8 times as strong is reached is difficult to envision. About all that can be said is that a 95 pound chimp might be 5 to 8 times stronger than a 98 pound human weakling, but perhaps only twice as strong as a 200 pound bodybuilder. Still, that's fairly strong.
Different Kinds Of Strength - One theory given regarding chimpanzee strength relative to human strength is that the chimpanzee is much stronger because of its skeletal makeup and the fact that its muscle fibers are much longer. Not only are the chimp's muscles stronger, but they are stronger over a much greater range of motion. It isn't just the arms that are strong, but the legs as well. A chimp can outrun a world class human sprinter, though the chimp would do it on all fours. A world class human distance runner however could outlast a chimp, probably fairly easily, exhibiting the difference between brute force strength and stamina. Chimpanzee muscles are more suited to acts of explosive power, and an ability to do tremendous amounts of work over a short period of time. They are not so well suited for the long hall.
Our Muscle Use Is Limited - Another theory is that we, the humans, are stronger than we tend to believe, but our brain and nervous system controls our muscles to the extent that we cannot really use those muscles to their full capability. To do so would risk injury. Our muscles are more suited to doing detailed tasks, and tasks that are somewhat fine tuned. We can thread a needle, whereas a chimp probably cannot. The chimp on the other hand might be able to throw a sewing machine across the room, where we could not. Although the following has no basis in scientific fact, one could theorize that the chimp is only twice as strong as the human, but we humans can only utilize about half of our potential strength due to the restraining effects of our brain and nervous system, making the chimpanzee 4 to 5 times stronger.
Too Strong And Wild To Make A Good Pet - The chimpanzee does not make a good pet, despite what one might read. They are cute and cuddly when young, and can be trained to do many things humans do, and dressed in cute costumes. Those chimps you see performing or in commercials are young, usually under 5 years of age, yet they are as strong as humans, but just don't yet know it. As they grow older they become even stronger and at some point realize they are quite a bit stronger than we are. They also tend to become less affectionate, so one ends up with a very strong pet, with canine like teeth, that is in reality a wild animal, and even if not by nature vicious, capable of doing great harm. When dealing with horses or trained elephants, one must still be aware of the animals' strength. The same applies to chimpanzee strength, but an adult chimpanzee, supposedly domesticated, is much more dangerous to be around.