Great apes include gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans. While chimpanzees are the smallest, humans are the weakest. Chimps are much stronger than humans, even accounting for physical condition, meaning they are stronger than our top athletes.
Pound-for-pound, chimpanzees are 1.5 times stronger than humans at pulling and jumping tasks, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This strength is not the result of the chimpanzee’s physical form, its range of motion, or a newly-discovered dedication to bench presses and deadlifts, but instead, the product of how the fibers in chimp muscles are distributed. Because chimpanzees are our closest-living primate relative, these findings are offering new insights into human evolution—and why’re we’re such weaklings.