This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Arkadia Moon:
Unless the gorilla is somehow hobbled (drugged, lamed, etc.), or the human fighter is armed (especially with something like a spear that can hold the gorilla off at a distance), the gorilla will kill the human and then be vaguely dejected that the human wasn’t able to put up enough of a challenge to be interesting. Consider:
- A male gorilla significantly outweighs most professional fighters.
- His center of gravity is closer to the ground. Wrestlers will appreciate the huge advantage involved; erect bipedality is a serious liability here.
- One word: fangs.
- Being a wild animal, the gorilla will throw 100 percent of his available resources into the fight from the word go. Humans—even professional fighters or soldiers—never do this, unless they are in such a state of psychosis that they might as well be wild animals. (I have seen a 5-foot-tall woman in such a state, and weighing 100 pounds, require five humans at double her weight each to take her down and hold her down.)
- Because the gorilla’s fighting responses are instinctual, not trained, they will be faster than the human’s.
- The gorilla’s musculature and skeleton are considerably more robust than the human’s, which means that the gorilla will soak up much more punishment before being seriously injured. This makes the human’s fighter’s main hope of winning—almost immediately incapacitating the gorilla—very problematic.
What will happen is that the gorilla will close with the human and knock him off his feet. At that point, all—all—of the human’s possible advantages are out the window, and it’s all over but the screaming, bleeding, and dying.
Answer by Kent Fung:
Highly unlikely, if no firearms or tranquilizer guns are involved.
A gorilla can reach speeds of 20 mph to 25 mph. In comparison, Usain Bolt’s record in the 100-meter dash roughly translates into 23 mph (Bolt reaches peak speeds of around 27 mph—but still).So, even if you were Usain Bolt, there’s a good chance you’re not outrunning a gorilla, and this assumes the fight takes place on a race track (where a human can really sprint) and not in a forest, where running speed isn’t much of an issue. So now, you’ve got a gorilla who most likely can catch up to all but the most elite sprinters on the planet. Conclusion: You’re not outrunning the gorilla.
The average gorilla is approximately six to 15 times as strong (depending on who you ask). All those techniques that we rely on to defeat stronger opponents aren’t going to be enough to overcome that much strength differential: You will not be arm-barring a gorilla, for instance, even if you’re Rickson Gracie.
Conclusion: Human fighter, even if you’re Brock Lesnar or Anderson Silva or whoever, is totally screwed in a straight up one-on-one fight.
More questions on animal attacks:
- Would a lone adult wolf be able to take down an unarmed, athletic adult human?
- Which firearm is more effective against an attacking bear: pistol, rifle, or shotgun?
- What is the best way to defend against an attack dog?