At the center of Skull Island, living in a cavernous lair suspended high above the jungle, and lord of all he surveyed, was Kong. One of the last of his kind, Kong was a huge and powerful great ape, far larger than any hitherto known species. He was the king of his world, a nightmarish force to the Skull Islander humans, and an anomaly to science. Kong became the icon for the wonder and power of nature in his time.
When discovered by the Western world, sadly Kong was probably the sole representative of his species. Though he was almost certainly part of a family and perhaps a society once, he had been on his own for a long time. As such, this great ape’s behavior had changed as a reflection of his loneliness and in response the shouldering of the pressures of his world upon him as an individual and not a member of a group.
Obscure OriginsThe origin of Kong’s species is as obscure as Skull Island itself, but what seems certain is that his kind arrived no earlier than a few thousand years ago and were not originally native to the island at first, but they later evolved into an indigenous species. Mainland Asia is the likely point of ancestral origin.
Though a Kong’s physiology bares strong resemblances to that of African gorillas, some have theorized that the giant pongine great ape Gigantopithecus is a possible ancestor.
If so, Kong’s kind has increased in size dramatically in a short space of time. Perhaps this was a natural response to the dangers of the island – the predatory dinosaurs and other aggressive inhabitants? Or perhaps it was evidence of selective breeding? Ape-effigy-bearing ruins abound, supporting the theory of Kong’s kin being revered by the ancient humans of the island. Perhaps the massive apes were also bred by them? Perhaps they were brought with the ancient human colonists from some lost empire in Asia? The answers to these questions may never be known.
Living TogetherKong's species live in small familial units. While Kong’s home was in the mountainous uplands, the rest of his kind lives mostly in the jungle, where food is more abundant.
Adults protect the young from dangerous predatory animals like Foetodon and guide them in finding food. While young are vulnerable, the huge adult males are easily a match for the most dangerous carnivores on the island. The apes are able to combine massive strength with incredible dexterity. They also have the added advantage of grasping hands on all four limbs and, as any kind of ape shows, the intelligence to strategize and outthink opponents.
In their groups, strong emotional connections between individuals yield tight alliances, and the communicative skills of the apes serves to reinforce their bonds. Vocalizations form a strong part of the species’ communication, but subtleties of body language and posturing are as important. At their most subtle, these can be a flash of the eyelids or a glance to acknowledge another individual. At the other end of the spectrum, the mighty chest-pounding, standing roar is an unmistakable proclamation of power and dominance. Some of these many behaviors are similar enough to complex human behavior to suggest strong emotional development in the pongines.
Age-Old EnemiesThere is an age-old enmity that exists between the giant Kongs and the V. rexes. Both immensely powerful animals, these great titans clash again and again in ground-shaking contests of tooth versus fist, tyrannosaur bloodlust versus primate cunning.
V. rexes view young Kongs as good and are brave or foolish enough to risk injury to get at them. Both species take the opportunity to kill the young of the other in an attempt to eliminate future threats and neither accepts the encroachment of the other into their territory. Subadult V. rexes, less wary than their seniors and in a hurry to establish territories of their own, will be led into conflict with the apes.
The apes use whatever lay at hand as weapons, and the V. rexes come armed with massive, crushing gin-trap jaws. The beasts can inflict savage wounds upon one another. Most clashes are short – one party backing off when the odds are evaluated as out of their favor. But when the stakes are high enough, the conflicts become battles to the death.
The Long DefeatBy accident and attrition, over the centuries the Kongs have whittled down in number. Like other great ape species, they breed seldom and the young take years to attain self-sufficiency. Injury and sickness are killers as lethal as any V. rex or Venatosaurus, and each death is a blow to the species. Although never numerous, by the time Carl Denham’s expedition uncovered the island, Kong himself was one of the last of his great species.
The strange relationship he had developed with the Skull Islander humans that cling to life on the coast was symptomatic of the unnatural situation in which Kong persisted. He was intelligent social creature seemingly living alone. Perhaps the living offerings of the human natives appealed to some aspect of Kong’s need of company? Regardless, they did not fulfill it. Defensive and pugnacious, the giant ape was a product of the peril that surrounded him all his life.