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Primal Chest-Pound
One way of demonstrating a being's wildness is for them to beat their chest while yelling. This might be combined with a Mighty Roar.

This is most often done by gorillas (killer or otherwise). When a character that is not a gorilla does it, it is usually either to show that he feels as strong and mighty as a gorilla, or that he is as brutish and uncultured as an ape. It also may be Played for Laughs, when it is done by a small and/or weak character.

Two Stock Shout Outs often include chest pounding. One is a literal Shout Out to Tarzan, where the character lets out the ape-man's Signature Roar while beating his chest; the other "King Kong" Climb, where the creature on top of the building pounds his chest to recreate the iconic scene from King Kong.

In reality, Gorillas may pound their chest for different purposes: as a display of dominance, as a release of stress, to warn neighbouring gorilla groups about their presence, and most notably, it is one of the nine phases of the ritualized fight between Silverbacks. Juvenile gorillas also beat their chest playfully. Also, it is usually inaccurately portrayed in media: real gorillas more often do it with open or cupped hands rather than clenched fists.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • The Marsupilami itself sometimes does this. One Spirou and Fantasio story had the Marsupilami encounter a gorilla, who proceeds to do the typical chest-beating and tree-ripping intimidation display. Subverted in that the gorilla ends up too exhausted to fight back.

Film
  • Tarzan is sometimes shown doing this while performing the "Tarzan Yell", as the title character does in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), as seen here.
  • King Kong, being a giant gorilla, does this from time to time; most iconically after defeating the giant reptile (Tyrannosaurus rex / giant snake / V-rex), and when fighting the planes on top of the building.
  • A monkey (named Little Monkey) does it in George of the Jungle. See the scene here.
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: The eponymous beast does this in the forest—while howling like a wolf—which incites all the normal garden bunnies to imitate him.
  • Dian Fossey does this in Gorillas in the Mist when she imitates the gorillas' behaviour to blend in with the group. The scene is a bit of a Fridge Logic, considering that chest-beating often means a display of dominance or a challenge to fight - probably not the best idea when you are trying to earn the trust of a 300-pound silverback.
  • Peewee does this (complete with Tarzan Yodel) to celebrate Sex as Rite-of-Passage at the end of Porky's.

Literature
  • In Moving Pictures, the Librarian (an orangutan) tries this, and then has to wait for the buzzing in his ears and the flashing lights in front of his eyes to go away.

Live-Action TV

Newspaper Comics

Video Games
  • Donkey Kong: Done by the eponymous character, such as in his Idle Animation in Donkey Kong Country.
  • Variation: The Pokémon move Belly Drum causes the user to damage itself but greatly increases attack.
  • The first gorilla enemies in Golden Sun are called chestbeaters for this reason.
  • The roar animation of the male draenei in World of Warcraft is like this.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mutons and related units (Berserkers and Elites) do this whenever they take damage in an attempt to intimidate the attackers (which can actually induce panic in them). As explained much later by the Big Bad, the "Muton" species is considered savages by their masters, who gave them advanced weaponry and armor solely to serve as Cannon Fodder.
  • Barret Wallace of Final Fantasy VII does this when he's worked up.
  • The Fomoire folk in Folklore, found in Hellrealm can often be seen doing this in the midst of battle.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Soldier's taunt with The Direct Hit and the Beggar's Bazooka.

Western Animation
  • Tom and Jerry both do it when caught up in the throes of their latest crush. Usually a variation of Post-Kiss Catatonia. A kiss makes them feel mighty.
  • Looney Tunes: in Bugs Bunny short "Rebel Rabbit", after the U.S. government puts a bounty of one million dollars on him, Bugs is overjoyed. He calls himself "Bugs Bunny, king of the beasts" and gives out a Tarzan yell while pounding his chest.
  • The gorilla in SpongeBob SquarePants episode "I Had an Accident" likes to do this in-between his beatings of Sandy and Patrick.
  • Tarzan does it in the opening credits of The Legend of Tarzan, as well as on various occasions in the show. Other characters such as Kerchak, Tublat, Moyo and even Professor Porter do it too in various episodes (the first three characters are gorillas, and the Professor is pretending that he is Tarzan).

Other
  • This selective attention test. The viewer is asked to count how many times a basketball is passed. Halfway in the video, a person in a gorilla suit walks in, pounds his chest, and walks away.

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