HAPPY FINALS WEEK! Haha, just kidding. Finals suck. Here’s a post that’s just academic enough to not count as a total waste of time to get you through whatever exams you have left.

Every few days, I like to stop by Sigma Nu and get lunch/dinner with Allan and co. I’ve found that mealtime conversations in that house never fail to offer a new perspective and a good laugh. BUT, on one particular afternoon last week, the topic of the lunchtime conversation fell into a debate so controversial, so home-hitting, that it left the table feeling divided at its very core.

The debate was this: Who would win in a fight, a tiger or a gorilla?

We went back and forth for what must have been at least half an hour. Prosecutors and defendants argued for and against the lives of both creatures, constructing arguments using nothing but their sheer knowledge, intellectual intuition and the cajoling power of persuasion and a sexy wink.

At the end of the meal, we still had not reached a consensus on who would win such an epic fight to the death. But we are Stanford students, goddammit! We demand year round sunshine answers! So I went and found some people with Ph.Ds in bioanthropology and other fancy disciplines to see what they thought. (Kind of like I did that one time when we couldn’t stop arguing whether or not two bi-racial people could conceive a physically-appearing mono-racial child.)

WAIT! Before seeing what the experts think, what is your prediction?



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1. Professor Stumpf

Rebecca M. Stumpf, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says:

Most certainly the tiger.  Primates generally don’t fare too well with big cats e.g. leopards. Gorillas on their own would be pretty vulnerable to a big tiger and big cats are pretty adept at getting good attack angles and holds. Fortunately this would never happen in the wild since gorillas are in Africa and tigers are not.


Tiger: 1 | Gorilla: 0

2. Professor Erasmus

Marisa Erasmus, Associate Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Purdue is an expert in Animal behavior and well-being. She votes for the tiger.

This is a very interesting question.

I believe a tiger would win. The reason for this is that if you consider that a tiger is a predator that has to hunt for its prey, whereas a gorilla is a herbivore for the most part (some also eat insects). Gorillas are depredated by leopards in some parts of the world. Male gorillas can reach up to 400-500 lb body weight, but adult male tigers can reach over 600 lb.

If a gorilla was confronted by a tiger, the gorilla could fight, take flight, or freeze – these are the three types of anti-predator responses. The gorilla would most likely choose the response that is most cost effective in terms of energy and the response depends on how close the tiger is. So if the tiger is close enough that the gorilla is forced to fight, I am sure it would put up a good fight, but tigers must hunt for survival and with their superior body size, I don’t think it is likely the gorilla would win. So based on their natural history and biology, I would have to vote for the tiger.

Tiger: 2 | Gorilla: 0

3. Professor Croney

Candace Croney, Ph.D. is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology and Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University. After I sent a follow up email a few days after I had reached out, she had this to say:

I did get your email.  I didn’t respond because it’s an inappropriate question.  I study animal welfare science and ethics—I can’t imagine the rationale for a question like this or how any response to it would be perceived as responsible.  I’m also disappointed that a student would think this is a good use of anyone’s time or expertise.

Tiger: 2 | Gorilla: 0 | Cath: 😬

4. Professor Polk

And finally, Professor Polk. I sent Dr. John David Polk at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign the same email as all the other professors. He sent me a follow-up email asking for further clarification:

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So I did:

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And he asked:

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I responded:

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That was the last I heard from Dr. Polk.


Tiger: 2 | Gorilla: 0 | Cath: 😬, 😶

The Tiger wins!

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EDIT: While I LOVE the enthusiasm, I must kindly ask that you don’t email these professors regarding our debate, fam. I love that y’all wanna get involved, but I also don’t wanna piss them off too much, ja feel? Xoxo

With love ~ A much smaller, tamer version of a tiger (Kitty)

Next up…

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… Can a half-black, half-white man and a half-black, half-white woman have a child that appears to be fully black or fully white? Read: “The Professor Has Spoken: The Results Are In




Written by Catherine Goetze

Catherine Goetze www.cathincollege.com Find me on social media! Facebook: www.facebook.com/cathincollege Twitter: @catherinegoetze Instagram: @catherinegoetze SnapChat: @catherinegoetze Contact me: cathincollege@gmail.com


  1. its an even fight, it probably depends on the particular specimen rather than the species in general. As for gorillas being afraid of cats, who wouldnt be afraid of cats. I am afraid of pissing off a little cat because I know they’re suicidal and they can hurt me, but this doesnt mean I’d not win against a cat in a fight… All animals are afraid of cats because even if you win, you cant really eat it and you WILL get injured because they will scratch you all over.

    I think the gorilla is the more likely winner because cats have very little defenses to protect their vital organs. Blunt hits from the gorilla are serious. The only way the tiger would win is if he gets the gorilla from the back. Because if he gets his neck from the front, the gorilla would just do some good body and face shots, or could even bite the tiger back himself


  2. Ha ha ha 😂
    This is just fun and a great way to exercise the ol’ Gray matter and tune the logic skills a little.
    I really love that you exposed those two professors for what they really are : A couple of self-righteous ivory tower dwellers who need to get out once in a while and lighten up. Sheesh.
    Thanks for FINALLY settling this age-old question.
    But now… how would a great white shark fare against that same tiger?


  3. Candace Croney should just admit that she doesn’t know, rather than hiding behind the veneer of political correctness. All lines of questioning should be encouraged, especially at institutes of higher learning. It is irresponsible of her to take it upon herself to decide whether or not a question is appropriate. Who else gets to decide? Do we all get to shrug off questions that make us uncomfortable? I took an animal welfare course in grad school and some of my fellow students argued for mosquito rights, which is easy for someone living in NYC, as opposed to Tonga, to do. And these students got offended if they were challenged in any way. They love animals, so they are morally superior and that’s that. I disagree with animal testing because if the goal is to develop a product for humans, you’d get more valid results if you tested it on humans. Anyway, thanks for answering the tiger vs gorilla question.


  4. Here are my reasons why a tiger will win in a fight against a gorilla

    1. Gorillas are not known to fight against animals that are not members of their own specie (except to protect their young and their families) – while tigers are apex predators– which are sometimes even stronger, heavier and bigger than lions.

    2. Tigers are known to spring off the ground and leap 5-7 meters and can drag a water-buffalo (weighing upto 600-700) kilos even for 100-200 meters.

    3. Tigers are also known to even attack and kill adolescent and sub-adult elephants and are also very good at camouflaging themselves– and occassionally even kill other tigers in fights or even in certain cases indulge in cannibalism (eg: documented case of a female attracting a male tiger and then killing it– since it’s claws were found in the tigress and her cubs’ droppings).

    Therefore, if a gorilla was attacked by a tiger – chances are the tiger would kill the gorilla and win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. when a tiger can pick up a small tree and damn near break down a steel door let me know. a gorilla is several times stronger than even the strongest men, power lifters have been known to lift and bench like 500-900 pounds imagine a gorilla’s strength.


  5. How dare you waste Prof. Croney’s time with such an inappropriate and irresponsible question, Cath? Darn you Stanford students and your overwhelming intellectual curiosity! hahah

    Liked by 1 person

So, whaddaya think?

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