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Animals need to be strong: their survival depends on it. But most people are shocked to learn just how strong the average animal is, compared to a person. Most creatures, including gorillas, tigers, and bears, are dramatically stronger than us, not just in absolute terms, but also relative to their body weight.
Humans have unusual muscles. Our muscle fibers contain relatively few nerve cell connections compared to our primate relatives. When our muscles fire, less of the muscle fiber is activated, and it generates less contractive force.
The reason for this seems to be related to the need for our bodies to do two things: run long distances and do detailed, intricate work with our hands. If we had muscle fibers like our primate cousins, we would have struggled to run across the plains of Africa or make the complicated tools which fueled the birth of civilization.
The cost of all of this was relatively weak muscles compared to our size. An eagle, for instance, can lift more than 48 pounds into the air - more than four times its body weight. A human, on the other hand, can pull around 155 pounds off the floor, or 0.8 times body weight - not as impressive.
Gorillas are much bigger than people, but they’re also much stronger than us for their size. A gorilla might weigh 350 pounds, but it can lift over 4,400 pounds, giving it 10x strength-to-weight ratio.
Have you ever wondered how your strength stacks up compared to other creatures in the animal kingdom? Check out the following infographic from Old School Labs.
Infographic by Old School Labs
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