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Kong Mirrors Real Evolutionary Paths

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-tiny-animals dept.

Science 185

CNN has an article pointing out that, though King Kong may be a little extreme, evolutionary gigantism is not out of the question on remote islands. From the article: "There are many examples of what biologists term 'gigantism' on islands. These include the Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards which can be 10 feet long or more and weigh up to 500 pounds. Found on a few small Indonesian islands, the Komodo -- a recorded man-eater -- is in many ways as chilling as anything from Jackson's fertile imagination."

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185 comments

Yo! Eat me! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377577)

Because it's good and it's good for you.

Re:Yo! How 'bout I BEAT you instead? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377766)

About the noggin'.

Hype time already? (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377579)

"King Kong," which is reigning at the North American box office this holiday season...

CNN should label these articles as advertisements. There's little science in the story, and certainly nothing new.

Re:Hype time already? (1)

saurabhdutta (904490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377594)

How about the mountain gorillas of rwanada? they have evolved w/o human predators for millions of years. I dont concur that this is an ad stunt by cnn.

King Kong is about human behaviours, not evolution (2, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377624)

Agreed. Although, having said that, I was suprised by the new King Kong film. It really does try to do something new with an old film, rather than just watering it down and selling it as a basic adventure or feel-good movie.

King Kong isn't really about big creatures or evolution, though. It's about how humans are sacrificing nature on the altar of concrete monuments to our own "achievements".

Re:King Kong is about human behaviours, not evolut (1)

Drakonite (523948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377691)

It's been a long time since I've seen it... but isn't that what the original movie was all about as well?

Re:Hype time already? (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377666)

Agreed, quite often those type of stories appear at the same time as the release of major movies without any significant news in the science themselves, disgusting really.

Re:Hype time already? (0)

antic (29198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378141)

Can't remember the exact statistic, but it's significant (e.g., 25% or 50% I think) - anyway, it's said that 25%+ of all material in newspapers and sources like that linked are the work of publicity companies. This is a prime and obvious example. That /. approved it for the front page is pretty crap IMO.

Re:Hype time already? (2, Interesting)

KuRa_Scvls (932317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377680)

You shouldn't blame CNN. You should blame the society which has now grown into short attention spanned pleasure seekers, and the journalists, who doesn't know any other methods to grab the attention of the audience, who knows what they want.

Re:Hype time already? (2, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377778)

No kidding. In case anybody hasn't noticed...the new trend in PR is to try to tie whatever you're doing to something scientific. Then you can "borrow" some of their credibility and steal some of their press. Although most of the time there is no real science in these articles...they're just fluff pieces which mention whatever is being promoted. What's funny (and makes them even more annoying) is how transparent they are.

Re:Hype time already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14378060)

Or just maybe the BS CNN article was posted in retaliation to the BS Fox News story from the day before?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,180072,00.html [foxnews.com]
Fox's idea of a large margin between Narnia and Kong being only 1.3 million dollars.
:rolleyes:

In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377580)

In Soviet Russia, you eat Komodo dragons!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

carlvlad (942493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377641)

lameness filter not working?

Jackson's imagination?? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377581)

Uhhh, I hate to nitpick, but which creatures did Jackson imagine in this remake?

Not to say that the man isn't creative or imaginative, but he certainly didn't invent King Kong...or the brachiosaurus or the T-Rex or the Velociraptor or or or....

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377648)

The leech things?

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1, Funny)

eh2o (471262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377738)

the penis-worms?

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377992)

No, the penisaurus comes from Flesh Gordon.

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1)

YowzaTheYuzzum (774454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377885)

Not to say that the man isn't creative or imaginative, but he certainly didn't invent King Kong...or the brachiosaurus or the T-Rex or the Velociraptor or or or....

Actually, there is no T-Rex in the film. From Wikipedia:

"Apart from Kong, Skull Island is also inhabited by dinosaurs and other large fauna. However, though they may look similar, they are not the familiar species. Inspired by the works of Dougal Dixon, the designers have imagined what 65 million years of evolution would have done to the dinosaurs. Naturally, the creatures are presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 version."

Not to mention the enormous spiders and insects on the island.

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1)

pranay (724362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377938)

Now this [hanscomfamily.com] is what I would call an imaginative remake.

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378169)

See 'Moving Pictures' by Terry Pratchett. Huge girl carrying ape up tall building? Done.

Re:Jackson's imagination?? (1)

platypibri (762478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378388)

What this poster lacks is an understanding of what a director does. Textures, setting, lighting, framing the shot, cutting together shots into a cohesive whole, perhaps overseeing design of the sets and effects. These are the oils on a director's palette. While Jackson along with Fran Walsh also wrote the screen play, you can't fault him a a director. The fluidity of the piece, as well as the framing, and even the consistency of the size of the animal relative to the world is completely superior to the original, and nearly every frame is beautiful and a photograph on it's own right. That does actually take an imaginative director, especially when "imagining" a fairly naked shot with so many elements to be put in later.

I think the fertility of Jackson's imagination is not really in question.

Leave Jackson out of this! (2, Funny)

Anakron (899671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377582)

Jackson's fertile imagination

HAH! Let's see now... The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Yeah, real original.

While I loved LOTR (haven't seen Kong), let's call a spade a spade, shall we?

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (-1, Offtopic)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377639)

Well, screwing up a movie so much that only the main characters have similar names _does_ require a good deal of imagination. If I tell you that the Galadhrimm should never appear at Helm's Deep as they had a shoot-on-sight-if-you-come-to-our-lands relation with Rohan, you can call me a Tolkien geek. But if I point at fluorescent Minas Morgul, there is no other explanation than P.J. having had some seriously bad shrooms.

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377729)

While I loved LOTR (haven't seen Kong), let's call a spade a spade, shall we?

I'm an Australian. I call a spade a bloody shovel.

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (1, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377749)

I'm an Australian. I call a spade a bloody shovel.

That's funny, because even Australians know that spades and shovels are two different tools. A spade has a flat blade. A shovel is more like a scoop.

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377750)

I'm an Australian. I call a spade a bloody shovel.

Is that before or after you kill with it?

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377769)

Is that before or after you kill with it?

Before. And after.

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (2, Informative)

Claire-plus-plus (786407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378037)

Peter Jackson is certainly capable of originality, ever seen Bad Taste for example? (sick... yes, original... definately) I think if Jackson has been unoriginal then it's a malaise of the entire film industry. Don't forget that in 1999 (or was it 2000) they made Godzilla, an American remake of an American remix of a Japanese movie. The Matrix, a movie praised by many for originality was made by directors/writers who were perfectly aware that there was nothing original about the "unique" style of the movie (you can even buy a box set of the Manga movies that "influenced" the style of the Matrix).

It seems these days that all Hollywood makes is remakes or rehashings of old ideas. Part of the reason for this could be that decisions to finance or distribute films are made with calculators. Let's face it, it's easy to predict that a remake of a loved film or a loved idea is likely to be successful.

Re:Leave Jackson out of this! (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378071)

HAH! Let's see now... The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Yeah, real original.

Don't know about Kong, but LotR is actually fairly different from the book. It was by many considered to be "unfilmable" and indeed, many parts were cut (Tom Bombadil), changed & added (helm's deep, Galadriel, gollum's demise, sam turning back), transplanted (saruman's defeat, descripion of gray havens), reshuffled (entire timeline of second and third book) and so on.

Not only do I think a lot of originality went into the film, I think "LotR the movie" was a better movie than "LotR the book" would have been, but that "LotR the book" is the better book (not that there is a book version of the movie). For Tolkien, it's all about the ring, Sam and Frodo. The little love story between two side characters are tucked away in a little appendix, and it sort of fades to nothing with them each going their own way.

What Jackson pulled off what is almost "LotR meets Romeo & Juliet", and by god, if you manage to look past the fact that it wasn't what Tolkien wrote, it is damn good. Her choice between eternal life alone in the gray havens or to sacrifce everything for love that "can't be" touches many people who couldn't care less about a magical ring that gives superpowers and a bunch of AD&D monsters.

The only thing I found ridiculous in the LotR movies was that they were able to hold off the nazgul, which are supposed to be so very dangerous... yet some guy and a few hobbits defeat them? That really lacked some workaround.

Now this flick was imaginative.... (1)

protocoldroid (633203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378248)

"Meet The Feebles" [imdb.com] co-written and directed by Peter Jackson, now -that- is imaginative.... And there's only one way to describe it if you haven't seen it -- Muppets on crack.

Meet the Feebles is also a commentary on evolution. Just as the Beetles evolved from bubble-gum music to psychadelic music, muppets evolved from polite entertainment for children into coke sniffing, prostitute banging adult entertainers :)

Woo, biology lessons AND social dynamics... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377584)

...thank god this shows us what happens when niggers go after white women.

Jackson's imagination? (4, Informative)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377585)

If anyone should get the credits for inventing King Kong, shouldn't it be Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace [imdb.com] ? Not to mention previous works by Jules Verne and others...

Not 'evolved' just better fed. (4, Interesting)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377586)

One point in the article seems incorrect to me.

The house mice -- believed to have made their way to Gough decades ago on sealing and whaling ships -- have evolved to about three times their normal size.

I have raised a couple of generations of house mice from a captured pair at my parent's place, and while that original pair were the same size as any other house mouse, about an inch and a half from nose to the base of their tail, their offspring raised in my tank and fed well (ok, overfed :) were every bit as big as fancy mice, four inches or more long from nose to tail base. Going by volume they were well over three times the size of their parents, probably closer to 5. All it took was a regular diet of pet mouse grains, crickets and burger mince.

They were certainly fatter, but also MUCH larger at a base level.

Re:Not 'evolved' just better fed. (5, Funny)

arose (644256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377591)

That's all very nice, but did they taste better?

Re:Not 'evolved' just better fed. (1)

deleveld (607488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377741)

Dont forget that the ability of a species to get bigger with good feeding, or conversely to remain small with limited feeding, is also a genetic trait that has some selection pressure. This helps species adapt to varying access to resources. Individuals who got bigger faster in rich times may be able to out-compete others when times are lean. Of course if they get too big the number of individuals that the envrionment can support declines and populations get more sensitive for inbreeding-like genetic defects.

Your point about feeding is important though as it draws attention to the incredibly bad science in the article. They imply that evolution could 'make' king-kong like aminals. There has to be at least several hundered for sufficient genetic variation to avoid inbreeding. These hundered king-kongs need to eat a lot, but what is available is such large quantities?

Even if for some unthinkable reason a king-kong popped into existence it would be dead from starvation in two weeks and no one would ever see it.

Re:Not 'evolved' just better fed. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377780)

it's only about the size of an elephant and smaller than a mammoth.

Re:Not 'evolved' just better fed. (2, Funny)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377813)

There has to be at least several hundered for sufficient genetic variation to avoid inbreeding. These hundered king-kongs need to eat a lot, but what is available is such large quantities?

What? Hundreds of Tyrannosaurus-Rexes, of course!

Re:Not 'evolved' just better fed. (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378100)

Not to mention the virgin sacrifices.

What this really means... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377589)

Hollywood is an island unto itself. Where the flops get bigger and bigger while quality entertainment gets smaller and smaller. This is why some of the better movies are coming from New Zealand. I guess there are no intelligent designers among the Hollywood beancounters to save the day.

Re:What this really means... (0)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377701)

I guess there are no intelligent designers among the Hollywood beancounters to save the day.
Is that intelligent (designers), as in designers who are intelligent, or (intelligent design)ers, as in creationists?

Re:What this really means... (1)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377747)

This is why Hollywood is so afraid of Independent Movie Studios.

First of all, they can't control them because most Inde studios are in another country. Second, there are no laws preventing Inde studios from making films. And third, Hollywood studios don't usually get to share in the profits of a Inde film that makes it big until the time to distribute it on DVD comes along.

Why do you think it took so long for Inde films finally get recognition in the Oscars?

Peniston-Bird is a real name (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377596)

This just in: There is a person named "Olivia Peniston-Bird" [imdb.com]

Do you think she is related to another Bird? [rotten.com]

Re:Peniston-Bird is a real name (0)

Billy Donahue (29642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377835)


Awesome! Her first, um, "job":

    Moby Dick (1998) (TV) (special effects assistant)

Of course, her big break was:

    Sexy Beast (2000) (third assistant director: Spain)

Also of note:

    Phoenix Blue (2001) (third assistant director)

Side note on Kodomo dragons (4, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377599)

Corante had a intersting piece on the origins of reptile venoms last fall:

http://www.corante.com/loom/archives/2005/11/21/wh ich_came_first_the_snake_or_the_venom.php/ [corante.com]

My choice quote - at the very end, and the only tenuous link to the present subject:

And if you do happen to get bit by a Komodo dragon, you'll be able to be distracted from the effects of its venom by the fact that your arm is missing.

I propose a new term! (4, Interesting)

Anakron (899671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377603)

Content free article (or has that already been proposed?)
Being the cool dudes we are, let's shorten that to CFA. There's nothing even mildly interesting in the linked article. It reads like an advertisement for King Kong.

Re: I propose a new term! (1)

OverflowingBitBucket (464177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377628)

There's nothing even mildly interesting in the linked article. It reads like an advertisement for King Kong.

There are an awful lot of "articles" nowadays that happen to coincide with a movie or DVD release. :( It's reassuring that I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

Anyone actually see the movie? (2, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377613)

Over here (Australia) it seems very much to have flopped. I myself haven't even the slightest inclination of going to see it - did they stuff up the marketing here or is it just a dead movie?

Re:Anyone actually see the movie? (1)

bezzer (916829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377646)

I went and saw it in the cinema yesterday, and after being out for a week most of the seats were full. There were a lot of people at the movies though, since it was a public holiday. According to this [moviemarshal.com] site, it seems that it was 2nd after LWW last week, so it's not doing too bad.

Re:Anyone actually see the movie? (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377768)

I did. Or at least the first half. Granted the CGI WAS TRULY FANTASTIC! The movie sucked big time... It was hard to sit and watch not because of the extended length of the film but most of the scenes just drag on, and on, and on, and on, and on... well you get the point. (seriously needs about twenty more "and on's" in there though.) I was like "Come on get to the next scene already!" The clincher was the scene where they were being chased through a narrow canyon. They ran for like half an hour dodging dinos running under their feet and stuff without getting touched. jeeze.. ya it looked cool but come on! I get the frikin point already! they're runnin! they're scared! lets go already! Every scene was like that. Jackson could have (should have) cut out half of the redundant crap and it would have been a decent movie!
I left half way through, couldn't take any more... I went with a friend, he left too. His only comment was, "It looked good but it sucked!"
Don't get me wrong I loved the LOTRs, other than some sound problems, (volume going from so low you couldn't hear what they were saying, to so frickin screamin ass loud it blew out my right ear drum! I've had two infections in that ear since then) they were all three great flicks.
I think Jackson is just a little full of himself on this one.
I wouldn't pay to see it again, everyone knows the monkey dies in the end anyway.

-Neil.

Re:Anyone actually see the movie? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14378066)

I wouldn't pay to see it again, everyone knows the monkey dies in the end anyway.

And Chewbacca is his father!

Fluff piece (4, Insightful)

ljhiller (40044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377621)

This reads like a story invented in a Reuters reporter's head, with out-of-context quotes from scientists to support his clever idea. Anybody that followed the homo floresiensis story knows that large mammals tend to become dwarves on islands. [channel4.com]

Re:Fluff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377654)

Not necessarily true. The homo floresiensis or "hobbit" discussion just shows that both developments are possible.

Re:Fluff piece (1)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377705)

It was no doubt written to promote King Kong, and CNN probably paid nothing to very little for the rights to print it. Cheap way to fill the pages. This should have to be labeled as advert.

Re:Fluff piece (1)

gmcgath (829636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377865)

The article says that gigantism happens "because of isolation and a lack of competition," and this isolation from competitors explains Kong's giant size. The writer must be talking about some other remake of King Kong which I never heard of.

Totally incorrect for mammals (0)

melkorainur (768297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377632)

Mammals shrink on islands and smaller ecosystems. See pygmy elephants in islands in India. It's reptiles that increase in size.

Re:Totally incorrect for mammals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377653)

hmm not entirely true depends on how you look at it. after all who's law is it, I forget, that puts some relationship between median size of all mammals on a landmass and plots it against land area. if you do that it's very striking that median size drops as land area goes up. but most animals are the size of rats anyway, picking on elephants is only a tiny part of the story - there are hardly any of them.

It's size that matters (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377843)

It's not the class, it's the size. According to the "island rule", islands don't provide the territory or food to support a diversity of larger animal species, especially very large animals such as elephants, so for the species that aren't killed off entirely, runts are favored. With the size, number, and variety of upper-level predators greatly reduced, smaller animals can grow larger (which provides advantages such as better body temperature control, more food and water storage, and being a more difficult kill for larger small predators) without risking as much lethal attention from predators.

There are exceptions and there is debate about the details of the island rule mechanism or whether it's even a valid idea at all, but the rule does NOT support the idea that a gorilla-sized animal would get even larger on an island. The factors that keep a large, top-tier animal from getting bigger - finite food supply, body design and that pesky square-cubed law - aren't likely to stop being issues on an island.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/eden/giants.html [pbs.org]

Does anybody have suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377637)

for websites like how slashdot used to be?? With actual tech stories. You know, news for nerds, stuff that matters. If I wanted watered down advertisements for hollywood I'd read Entertainment Tonight or whatever it is called. Anybody else notice that Zonk's stories don't seem to have any submitters? They just magically end up in the queue. I for one check /. now 2 or 3 times a day, where in the past it was almost a sickness with the refresh button. Anybody else feel slash has jumped the shark?? Any websites that are still GEEKY??

*JACKSON*'s imagination? (1)

solios (53048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377642)

Kong's a remake. The LOTR trilogy were books first. He may have a talent for visualizing but these are NOT his stories.

Re:*JACKSON*'s imagination? (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377795)

The parts of the LoTR movie script that he had Fran write are original. Fran didn't seem to care for the books- she talks a lot in the DVD commentary about her improvements on Tolkien's story to "give the audience something to care about". Usually during those scenes everyone hates.

Fran has writing credits in Kong, which is harder to mess up since there is no canonical form of the story for her to deviate from. I haven't seen it but I'm guessing the gorilla-heroine romance gets developed to hell in this version.

Re:*JACKSON*'s imagination? (1)

solios (53048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377916)

Wouldn't surprise me. :|

Liv Tyler and ELVES AT HELMS DEEP just totally make my nuts SCREAM in agony. Nevermind the original Tolkein incongruity of Teh Undead Army - I can almost stomach that, but man. Liv and the overdone, nuked-to-DEATH sequence of over-endings put me off. Probably because I had to pee. :P

I've seen some of the commentary on a couple of the movies - a friend of mine STILL tents his fucking khakis at the mention of anything even related to LOTR - and from what I've seen, I completely agree with what you've stated - the lower quality bits are totally the ones that WETA and crew have added to "improve" the original.

Conversely - and I say this as a creator [amongthechosen.com] - it's hard to not want to put your stamp on a thing. Especially when, in their case, the original creator isn't around to dissaprove of the alterations!

Gigantism in People (2, Interesting)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377643)

This guy [stevequayle.com] has been on Coast to Coast AM a couple times to speak about gigantism in people. He has a pretty extensive website [stevequayle.com] . From the intro:

Stretch your mind back to childhood. What giants do you remember? Jack and the Beanstalk? Hercules? Paul Bunyan? Goliath? What were you told and what did you read? With the exception of Goliath and an occasional ornery cyclops, legends emphasized their innate goodness, eye-popping feats accomplished with unparalleled strength, victories over the bad guys and all performed by "gentle giants". What if it were all a lie? What if the truth were something much MUCH more sinister?

Re:Gigantism in People (1, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377760)

So, Dan obviously didn't get any brains. Steve obviously didn't either. Somewhere out there, there is a Quayle brother who's dangerously smart.

Sad... (2, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377762)

+3 Interesting? I guess pseudoscience is always more interesting than science, isn't it.

Re:Sad... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378254)

Well, it is interesting to see what fantasies people can come up with

Re:Gigantism in People (3, Interesting)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377800)

This guy has been on Coast to Coast AM a couple times to speak about gigantism in people. He has a pretty extensive website. From the intro:

When a website contains a phrase like this:

"I have invested over 30 years researching the vast history of giants. It has, for the most part, been kept from the public. Proof of giants' existence - their skeletal remains - has been quickly secreted away in obscure museums, when not destroyed."

You know it is not worth reading. Yet more pseudoscience combined with conspiracy theories...... how boring.

And yet (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377651)

The hippopotamus is one of the most dangerous of wild animals...

 

duh! missed the point? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377652)

huh? did the author miss a little bit of history here? The original King Kong idea WAS based on the knowledge of isolationistic giant evolution. KK would not exist had it not been for a bit of science fiction with background knowledge. that the story has been rewritten slightly for modern tastes is not a point for discussion.

Yup... (2, Interesting)

manavendra (688020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377657)

...the new human species, Homo floriensis, observes quite the opposite of the evolutionary path - standing at under 1meter tall

What's more, it is thought they spent most of their time in trees :

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/10 27_041027_homo_floresiensis.html [nationalgeographic.com]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3948165.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Gigantism (5, Interesting)

Solokron (198043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377663)

Coconut crabs (Birgus Latro) are pretty huge. They co-exist only with birds that are non-threatening on small tropical islands. It is probably the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world. http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/invertebrates_te rrestrial_and_freshwater/Birgus_latro/ [arkive.org]

Oh great.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377683)

Queue all of the "gigantism in my pants" posts.

Seeing as the whole article is irrelevant... (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377697)

... I'm wondering when critics will finally realise that PJ's Kong is a really bad movie.

Yeah yeah, I get it, he was creating a modern action movie as a sort of homage to the old B movies he loved as a child. Someone should've told him that modern movie goers are a little more sceptical about "indestructible lead actors" than they were 50 years ago.

They also should've pointed out that end-to-end action is all great fun, unless it runs for 60 minutes more than most people can stomach, featuring gun FX circa 1950 and Brody having giant critters shot off his body with a 1930's machine gun, hardly designed for accuracy.

It was a rotten movie and about as good as this "it's a slow day" story...

Evolution ... Evolution ... Evolution ... (-1)

Robowally (649265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377709)

*Evolution ... Evolution ... Evolution ... if I just repeat it enough times, maybe I could start believing it. Now repeat after me ... Evolution ... Evolution ... Evolution ...

* I mean macro evolution of course.

Re:Evolution ... Evolution ... Evolution ... (1)

bheading (467684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377810)

Enough of the Steve Ballmer impressions already!

Jackson's imagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377713)

> the Komodo [...] is in many ways as chilling as anything from Jackson's fertile imagination

Obviously the writer never saw Meet the Feebles

Come on... (0)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377730)

Stop badgering the poor guy. He might have a 'fertile' (sick freaks) imagination, but he's not guilty [cnn.com] , alright?

(Warning - post contains sarcasm)

hey Baby, (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377739)

I'm going to a remote island. Wanna come along and experience the gigantism? It's not out of the question, you know.

JACKSON'S imagination? (0, Offtopic)

TomServo_1 (187918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377742)

Hey now, let's leave Tito and his Neverland Ranch fantasties out of this.

Limit on size? (1)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377784)

I remember seeing some scientist on TV explain why giant ants the size of buildings would never work because living things just do not scale like that. When it gets too large the structure would not support it. Would the same apply to an ape? Common sense makes me think as long as everything enlarges evenly a creature could become infinitely huge. Someone correct me on this because I've never understood the logic of it.

Re:Limit on size? (2, Informative)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377840)

Not necessarily. If you think about it in terms of architecture, it may be easier to understand. Look at your living room or bedroom. The ceiling is probably being supported by the four walls on each side. The room is small enough that the ceiling doesn't require support in the middle. If you scale the room a 100 times, the distance between the main supports (the side walls) would be too large to support the ceiling without additional support, either via poles or other means. I'd guess the same thing would apply to creatures. If you look at Robert Wadlow [wikipedia.org] , the world's tallest man, he had trouble walking due to his size.

Re:Limit on size? (3, Informative)

Mark J Tilford (186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377853)

The problem is the square/cube ratio. Double all linear dimensions, and volumes / weights go up by a factor of eight; areas only go up by a factor of four. So exactly doubling a creature would double the amount of weight per unit area, and the joints wouldn't be strong enough.

Re:Limit on size? (1)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377937)

yeah, I seem to recall hearing something along these lines in grade/high school. Something like our bones aren't much different than an elephant's and this is the reason they aren't speed demons. They're so big and heavy that even if their muscles were strong enough to make them run as fast as cheetahs or jump as nimbly as lighter animals their bones wouldn't be able to withstand the forces. It's been a couple decades since I was in school and vaguely paying attention to the elephant talk that day, but it was something along those lines, hehe.

Re:Limit on size? (2, Informative)

Claire-plus-plus (786407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378112)

I remember from my university biology classes why giant insects are impossible. Insects breathe through breathing pores, the air enters their body through the entire surface of their carapace. Apparently if they get over a certain size the core of their bodies would die of oxygen starvation in the time It takes the air to get into their sustem.

Now think about big mammals. Imagine the size of the heart that would be needed to pump blood against gravity into King Kong's brain. Imagine the muscles that would be needed to force enough air into the lungs. Gravity would collapse lungs over a certain size.

Now, I imagine giant reptiles would find it easier than giant mammals. Their metabolism requires less oxygen and thus the requirement to breate might be tolerable. Though I would hazard that the size of the biggest dinosaurs that did exist was probably the size of the biggest that could exist.

Additionally, it makes sense to me that of all animals an ape would be least likely to survive at that kind of size. Apes have the largest brains in land mammals (besides ours) and the glucose requirements for a brain like that would be phenomenal. So, King Kong could never actually exist.

But I will ignore that and go watch the movie anyway. After all Go-Jira is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Foster's Rule (4, Informative)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377818)

If anyone's interested, the principal described in the article is a special case of something called Foster's rule -- which you can google if interested.

In my opinion, more interesting than the giant species are pgymy species also created by the same effect. Pygmy Mammoths likely survived far longer than their gigantic counterparts before going extinct, as there is evidence of them being alive as recently as 5000 years ago on a few select islands. In fact, if I recall correctly, there is an egyptian painting which many suggest appears to be the pharoah or some lesser ruler recieving one as a gift. My details on this are a bit sketchy, so those genuinely interested should take their queries to google . . .

Some of you may also remember the somewhat controversial discovery of a species of pygmy hominid described as "hobbit-like" that was discussed on Slashdot about a year back -- those fossils were also from a rather isolated island . . .

Komodo Dragon == Island Dwarfism != Gigantism (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377856)

Komodo dragons appear to be close relatives, or an offshot of Megalania prisca, which was up to 23 feet long (and lived in the continent of Australia) - in other words Komodos would be an example of island **Dwarfism**

They only appear big, because their bigger continental cousins became extinct (BTW in relatively recent times - approx 19,000 years ago or less)

The real source (3, Informative)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377860)

I love how nobody at Slashdot seems to understand sourcing an article.

CNN has an article ------------ No. Nope. Wrong.

CNN is running an article. ------------ YES!

CNN is running a Reuters article. Learn to understand the god damn difference. This article is running on dozens of other sites out there, yet you just gave CNN credit for it. If I were one of these AP, Reuters, AFP, UPI, or [insert wire service here] writers, I'd be annoyed when nobody could figure out how to properly attribute my work.

Re:The real source (2, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377966)

"CNN has an article" does not actually say anything about the source - all it says is that they have an article they have the rights to publish, which they do.

If the post had said "CNN have written an article" then it would be wrong, but there's nothing wrong with saying they have it.

So much for ID and FSM (1)

draxredd (661953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377887)

Giant Gorilla Design, now in every Science Classrooms !

obligatory quote! (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377908)

I, for one, welcome our new giant lizard overlords!

I for one... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377911)

...welcome our new giant lizard overlords!

You know what? (1)

exley (221867) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377965)

I don't care, as long as it's not three bloody hours long.

... in many ways as chilling as anything from Jackson's fertile imagination.

Okay, I have never seen the original King Kong. However, from what I understand, much of Jackson's Kong followed the original, so this wasn't so much a product of his "imagination" as his self-indulgence. Can we please stop fellating this guy now? If his films were half as long as they are they might be decent, but making them overly long with a bunch of FX doesn't automatically make them great and important.

From the summary (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14377994)

These include the Americans, the world's largest humans which can be 10 feet around or more and weigh up to 500 pounds.

junk psuedoscience (1)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 8 years ago | (#14377999)

The reasons that creatures become gigantic have to do with lack of competition and predation, neither of which is the case in the environment in which King Kong lives.

You missed the point (2, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378199)

The article wasn't arguing that King Kong was possible, in fact it clearly states that it is not. It is going into an interesting scientific topic and alluding to a new movie to make it more interesting.

You see this kind of thing happen all the time. For instance, since the Da Vinci Code came out, I have seen plenty of historic tv specials on channels like the History channel that allude to that book in order to gain popularity (think "Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By"). That doesn't change the fact that Dan Brown is an idiot who has no idea what he is talking about 99% of the time and whose books contain nothing factual at all, nor does it make those specials psuedoscience. These specials have nothing to do with the book, they are just feeding off its popularity.

the opposite is true, too (1)

acroyear (5882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14378197)

just as some islands have created giants, other islands have shown a trend to producing pygmies, particularly in the elephant family (mammoths found off the coast of north america) and in the hominids (modern pygmies and homo floresiensis).

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