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?
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:
So I did:
And he asked:
That was the last I heard from Dr. Polk.
Tiger: 2 | Gorilla: 0 | Cath: 😬, 😶
The Tiger wins!
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)
… 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”