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GregAtlanta
01-14-2000, 03:46 PM
Calling all building engineers and architects:
If King Kong, or a similarly sized ape, climbed the Empire State Building, or a similarly sized famous New York landmark, what would happen to the building structurally? Surely a skyscraper isn't designed to be used as monkey bars for a giant gorilla, so would it just topple over?
-- Greg, Atlanta

Boris B
01-14-2000, 03:52 PM
That's a good question. I don't think it would be very easy to calculate the weight of King Kong, though. I don't think the building would topple over, though, since you could move all the people, bookshelves, 16-ton weights, etc. to one side of the building without too much danger ...?

tanstaafl
01-14-2000, 03:55 PM
Well, any building has to be able to stand up against wind loading, which in anything more than a trivial breeze probably exerts more force than King Kong would. (He would probably tear the facade off, but if he grabbed the structural frame he should be ok).

The Empire State Building was once rammed by a bomber and survived, so I think it's safe from the big ape.

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"Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China."

Dennis Matheson --- dennis@mountaindiver.com
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb --- www.mountaindiver.com (http://www.mountaindiver.com)

Guy Propski
01-14-2000, 04:15 PM
The biggest risk of damage would be to the facade of the building. The Empire State building and other tall structures are supported internally, on their girders. The exterior actually hangs off the girders (yes, this is oversimplified).

KK probably should have fallen on the way up, because his weight would be enough to pull the exterior masonry loose from its support.

Let me try to do some rough estimates. A 6' tall ape would weigh about 350 pounds. KK was roughly 60' tall, or 10 times taller. I'm sure I'll get called on this, but I think this means his weight would increase 100 time, so he'd weigh 35,000 pounds.

Now, cast you mind back to the final scene of KK. The big ape is climbing up the side of the Empire State building. There are many times that all his weight is placed on one spot (like when he's hanging by one hand). That's thousands of pounds of pressure bearing down on some mortar, a few wire ties, and friction. The dumb monkey should have fallen to his death before he got halfway up.

GregAtlanta
01-14-2000, 04:15 PM
Let's add some numbers to see if we can work this out. Got this info from http://www.aboyd.com/kong/kongfaq2.html#A2.
"Posters advertise King Kong as being 50 feet high. This is an exaggeration to help sell movie tickets. In reality, Kong was much smaller. For the scenes on Skull Island, Kong is made to appear eighteen feet high. This height was appropriate for the sequences where Kong interacts with Fay Wray. Merian C. Cooper, the producer, felt that an eighteen foot high Kong was too small for the New York sequences compared to the giant skyscrapers there and ordered Kong's height changed to twenty-four feet high for those sequences. Most viewers of the film never notice the change in Kong's height. While trying to sell his film project King Kong vs. Frankenstein, Willis O'Brien gave Kong's measurements as Height 19'-8", Weight 38 tons, Reach 27', Chest 17', Waist 11', and neck 9'."
Willie B., a gorilla Zoo Atlanta, is 6' tall and weighs 430 lbs. So if KK was 24 ft tall, that's 4 x 430 lbs. = 1,720 lbs. Or if he was 50 ft tall, that would be 8.3 X 430 lbs. = 3,583 lbs.
Hmmmmm, not nearly as much as I expected. (And way short of that 38 tons.) So maybe he could play all he wants and the building will stand.
-- Greg

tanstaafl
01-14-2000, 04:45 PM
Willie B., a gorilla Zoo Atlanta, is 6' tall and weighs 430 lbs. So if KK was 24 ft tall, that's 4 x 430 lbs. = 1,720 lbs.

Actually, no. If he is 4 times as tall he is also 4 times as large in the other dimensions (assuming the proportions are the same). So the equation would b 4 x 4 x 4 x 430 or 27,520 lbs. (13.8 tons).

That's a lot, but still within the range of what the structure should be able to handle. Again, he could probably rip the facade of the building but if he hangs onto the structure itself he should be fine.

------------------
"Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China."

Dennis Matheson --- dennis@mountaindiver.com
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb --- www.mountaindiver.com (http://www.mountaindiver.com)

GregAtlanta
01-14-2000, 04:54 PM
Ah, no surprise that my math was wrong. Not exactly my strong point.
So we could hang a 13.8 ton weight off a skyscraper with no problem? Wow. Let's try it.
-- Greg, Atlanta

Padeye
01-14-2000, 05:49 PM
There are many reasons you won't ever see a KK that funtions like the one in the movie. Scaling a gorilla (or anything else for that matter) by a factor of four means weight is multiplied by 64 as others have noted. Unfortunately the cross section of his bones and muscles are only increased by a factor of 16. Don't worry about the fašade of the sturdy Empire State Building, KK could probably not stand upright let alone climb it.

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APB9999
01-14-2000, 10:02 PM
I was going to say what you did, Padeye, but then I got to thinking. KK fought with a dinosaur on Skull Island, and they were of comparable sizes. It wasn't a T.rex, but let's say it was something approximately the same size. So KK could have been about the mass of a T.rex without passing the load-bearing capacities of vertebrate bones and muscles, since obviously T.rex itself was that size.

We all know that whales are the largest animals that ever lived, and elephants are the largest (extant) land animal, but what is the largest land animal that ever lived?

DSYoungEsq
01-15-2000, 09:42 AM
Trust a SDMB question to turn into an incipient evolution debate. ;)

pooh1331
01-15-2000, 11:03 AM
if your shooting for sheer size, you don't get bigger than the dinosaurs. some of the larger plant eaters were the biggest. diplodocus was the longest, at up to 100 feet. a relative, the apatosaurus weighed more (approx. 33 tons or so), but was about 20 feet shorter. as for mammals, i think the largest was the wooly mammoth.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
01-15-2000, 02:20 PM
pooh1331

Actually, the largest land mammal discovered so far was a giant hornless rhinoceros, known variously as Indricotherium or Baluchitherium.

It possibly stood 18 feet high at the shoulder.

Clueless
04-28-2000, 01:54 AM
Actually, Pooh, the longest dinosaur ever was the Seismosaurus. It was about 135-150 feet long.

Fiver
04-28-2000, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by GregAtlanta:
Ah, no surprise that my math was wrong. Not exactly my strong point.


One could quibble with your command of current events, too. You refer to Willie B. in the present tense, but he's dead. (And R.I.P., I hope.)



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On On

Fiver
04-28-2000, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by APB9999:
It wasn't a T.rex, but let's say it was something approximately the same size. So KK could have been about the mass of a T.rex without passing the load-bearing capacities of vertebrate bones and muscles, since obviously T.rex itself was that size.


Well, yeah, but T. Rex's legs were shaped differently...more like springs than the "tree-trunk" shape of primate legs. If you scaled primate legs up to dinosaur size, they still might be inadequate for the load.

Or even if they weren't, I suspect King Kong would be constrained to move very, v e r y, v e r y slowly. Certainly too slowly to be able to swat a plane out of the sky.



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On On

SingleDad
04-28-2000, 05:06 PM
Also, there's the heat problem, which the larger dinosaurs probably didn't have to deal with. KK would probably have to spend a lot of his time eating just to keep himself warm.