01 August 2012

Animals outperform human athletes

When it comes to speed, strength and endurance, even Olympic athletes can't compete with the animals who are champions in their fields.


When it comes to speed, strength and endurance, even Olympic athletes can't compete with the animals who are champions in their fields, a British researcher says.

For example, cheetahs and pronghorn antelopes are among the animals that are faster than Usain Bolt, who is currently the fastest person in the world, according to Craig Sharp of the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in London.

The fastest a human can run is 37.6 km/h. A cheetah is nearly three times as fast, at 102.9 km/h, while a pronghorn antelope can run at 88.5 km/h.

An ostrich is the world's fastest running bird at 64.37 km/h, or 17.98 metres per second. The fastest greyhound has been clocked at 69.2km/h and the fastest thoroughbred racehorse at 88.5km/h.

When it comes to strength, an African elephant can lift 300kg with its trunk and carry 820kg. A gorilla can lift 900kg and a grizzly bear can lift 453.6kg.

Humans have various features that make them well-suited for long-distance running, such as long legs, short toes, arched feet and ample fuel storage capacity, Sharp said. But the top marathoners would be hard-pressed to beat camels, which can maintain speeds of 16.09km/h for more than 18 hours, or the Siberian huskies that set a record in 2011, racing for eight days, 19 hours and 47 minutes, and covering 183.5 km/h a day.

In long jumping, a red kangaroo has covered 12.8  metres, compared with the human record of 8.95 metres. In high jump, the red kangaroo can leap 3.05 metres, compared with the human record of 2.44 metres.

However, no single animal species matches the physical versatility of humans, which is what the Olympic Games are designed to showcase to best effect, Sharp concluded.

(HealthDay News, July 2012)

An earlier version contained some conversion errors which have now been corrected.

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