Nature & Environment
Cheetah loses title as fastest land animal
By T.K. Randall
April 30, 2014 · 38 comments
The cheetah has officially been dethroned. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Malene Thyssen
The famous cat might be fast but there's one creature that puts even the cheetah's run speed to shame.
A team of researchers has discovered that it is in fact a tiny inconspicuous mite from Southern California called Paratarsotomus macropalpis that holds the record for world's fastest land animal.
The miniscule critter is capable of running at 322 body lengths per second, a speed that if scaled up to human size would be the equivalent of Olympic champion Usain Bolt running at 1300 miles per hour. By comparison the cheetah can only run at a paltry 16 body lengths per second.
The team used high-speed cameras to measure the mite as it scurried along the ground. While it's relative speed blows anything else out of the water, the researchers believe there could still be even faster creatures out there.
"We were looking at the overarching question of whether there is an upper limit to the relative speed or stride frequency that can be achieved," said biologist Jonathan Wright who lead the study. "When the values for mites are compared with data from other animals, they indicate that, if there is an upper limit, we haven’t found it yet."
Source: Washington Post
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