I'm curious to know how the athleticism of humans compares to that of chimpanzees and gorillas. In the popular press, adult chimps are commonly described as far stronger that humans, and on this basis too dangerous to be kept as pets or companion animals, but I've never been able to find an actual analysis that compares chimps to humans. Here are a few things I'd like to learn:

How are the assessments of chimpanzee strength versus human strength calculated? Are there common benchmarks like climbing a rope? Or is it done by analyzing body-mechanics? I would guess that chimps do have anatomical advantages over humans in a chinning movement, but what about in a pushing or pressing movement? Here it seems that humans would have an advantage.

Just why are adult chimpanzees considered to be so dangerous? Would they be less dangerous if they were neutered? How would they compare to a large dog in regards to the potential threat they pose to humans.

Thank you, Caoim

Correct, the forelimbs of chimps and other non-human apes are much stronger relatively and absolutely than humans. However this is largely a product of their larger muscles and better leverage-- they have more robust force-producing muscles, and that force is multiplied by a higher mechanical advantage (lever arm), so they can produce high out-forces and torques (twist your arm off etc).  This probably relates to their arboreal habitus.

So far, no one has convincingly shown that their muscle tissue is inherently better at producing force per unit cross-sectional area (there was a recent study that claimed this but so far it hasn't been well validated or repeated).

The analyses that have been done are based on anatomy and geometry of the body and its muscles, and a few experimental data on how much forces chimps etc can apply against measuring devices (force platforms etc).  I'm not sure about the pushing/pressing but suspect that non-human apes have the edge still.

Adult chimps are so dangerous because they are clever, fast, somewhat unpredictable perhaps, agile, and because they can exert big forces and torques. A large dog only has big jaw muscles and sharp teeth to apply those bite forces with, but those would likely pale in comparison to the twisting power of the much larger arm muscles of a chimp.

Hope that helps!