Kong, the giant ape in the re-make of the 1933 film classic “King Kong” (2005) is a replica of a mountain gorilla (Scientific name: Gorilla beringei) of gargantuan proportions. In Linnaean taxonomy, under Kingdom Animalia, it would be classified under Phylum Chordata as it has a supporting rod along its back which is common among chordates . A vertebrate, it has a backbone or bony skeleton, thus, it would fall under Sub-Phylum Vertebrata.
A gorilla is warm-blooded (having endothermal characterstics), bears a live young (placental) and suckles it, hence, Kong must belong to the Class Mammalia. Like apes and monkeys, it belongs to the Order Primate (animals that have forward vision, opposable thumbs and grasping fingers, primitive limb structure, and the like). A hominid, Kong belongs to Family Hominidae or the family of the “great apes”. Its genus is that of a gorilla. Like the true gorilla, Kong has enormous arms, longer than his legs, and have almost human-like features.
Like the “normal” gorilla subsisting largely on leaves, bark, roots and stems of plants, and occasional fruits, and unlike the ape in the 1993 original version which in some (later deleted) scenes chomped on humans, the latest Kong is shown as an herbivore, munching on pieces of young bamboo. A true mature gorilla eats about fifty pounds of plants per day; as a vegetarian Kong must ingest a proportionate amount of such vegetation for nourishment. He is capable of uprooting trees and travelling long distances so finding enough food for one day may not be too much of a problem for him if no prey is available.
Apparently, like that of a real gorilla, Kong’s digestive system is able to convert such roughage into nutrients and assimilate them as bodily fuel. Whether Kong would later evolve into an occasional carnivore like the bear may be possible, as when the island shall suffer from some calamity that destroys vegetation, in which case even herbivores may ultimately become predators or scavengers. Herbivores like cattle and elephants are usually non-violent creatures unless provoked. In the movie, Kong turns violent only when he is restrained and exploited for human entertainment, humiliating him.
A “monstrous aberration of nature” as Denham introduces him to the Broadway audience, Kong is found in Skull Island, an uncharted territory located somewhere in the vast Pacific, west of Sumatra, rather than in the African wild where the true gorillas have their habitat. Nobody knows how he has evolved, although the primitive islanders worship Kong as their god and offer sacrifices to appease him. Although real gorillas are gentle social creatures, Kong is solitary, and like the gorilla, would risk his life to defend his home and territory, taking on all reptilian (including a Tyrannosaurus rex) and human challengers by himself.
How King Kong or his kind could have morphed into a 25-foot ape with amazing strength and tenacity in battling monster predators may have been due to the abnormal conditions in that island, with its craggy mountains, deep forests, and steamy swamps. The absence of predators in an island plus the abundance of food usually enable the animals that live there, generation by generation, to grow in size over the centuries. But Kong has had to contend with continuing threats from giant predators, and the constant struggle to survive in that pre-historic wild must have honed his fighting capability to the extreme.
Kong has acute senses, able to detect Ann Darrow from miles away. Being the fittest to survive in that primitive environment, Kong and his ancestors could have evolved into an almost indestructible fighting machine. If the ecosystem in the island is capable of supporting herds of stampeding brachiosaurus, carnotaurus, brontosaurus, and other dinosaurs, then there must be enough food to sustain the daily requirements of a giant ape. Kong respires through his lungs as mammals do.
Ann’s first meeting with the creature is preceded by the sound of its breathing. The use of chloroform to render him unconscious suggests that the monster breathes, inhaling and exhaling like any other creature. In the Dino de Laurentiis King Kong re-make (1975), Kong dries off a shivering Ann Darrow, whom he had dangled under a waterfall to bathe her, by blowing gusts of wind from his mouth. Most of the film’s action takes place in the jungle, and he is shown on land most of the time; obviously, Kong is terrestrial.
Real gorillas, especially aging ones, are known to immerse themselves in hot springs to soothe their pains, but gorillas are essentially land-bound animals, able to climb trees but prefer to stay on the ground in groups led by a silverback, or adult, gorilla. Although the film designers developed the concept of Kong after the gorilla, whose features suggest massive brute strength, the monster ape’s features is made more human-like, rugged, wild, stupendous, capable of turning into a raging fury.
Unlike the true gorilla which is quadruped and walks on its knuckles, Kong appears more upright in its movement, often standing erect particularly when beating his chest in the face of his enemies and after slaying them. Kong is presumably male and have primordial needs as regards sex and affection, directing them towards Ann Darrow which she vaguely reciprocates. Being a mammal, the female of the species has a reproductive system that provides for bearing a live young. He is not a hermaphrodite, nor does he have a female counterpart in the movie.
The loneliness due to the absence of a mate may shed some light on why he apparently fell for Ann. Moreover, he appears to be capable of human-like emotion, as when he saves Ann Darrow and faces his tormentors atop the tower. The idea of people worshipping a giant ape may be understandable in such a primitive society. After all, Kong, a very old bull gorilla could have easily surmounted the 200-foot wall and kill off all the inhabitants, but he has come to accept the homage of human beings who give him human offerings at intervals.
Kong is solitary in nature, like a prowling tiger, and defends his territory from intrusion by other predators. But the idea of beast and human developing a bond between them may be difficult to believe, considering the extremely savage environment in which the monster lived. WORKS CITED Blenkin, J. , Cunningham, C. (Producers)& Jackson, P. (Director). (2005). King Kong. [ Universal Studios]. Laurentiis, D. (Producer) & Guillermin, J. (Director). (1976) King Kong [Paramount Pictures].