A wise man once said, “Never run behind a car, you’ll get exhausted”, before adding, “You should never run in front of a car either, you’ll get tired”. Regardless, if you think you can outrun a car, we’ve got news for you – you’re not as fast as you think – and neither is the speedy cheetah who, depending on your definition of “fast”, may have just lost its throne as the fastest animal on earth.
Meet supermite Paratarsotomus macropalpis
Using high-speed cameras to capture it in motion, scientists in California have discovered a tiny little mite, called Paratarsotomus macropalpis, that they say holds the record for the fastest land animal. This little guy can run 322 body lengths per second. If you were to scale this up to human size, it would be like running at a shoe-searing 1,300 miles per hour. The sluggish cheetah by comparison, can only run at a speed of 16 body lengths per second (64 miles per hour).
I know, let’s see how fast it can run on hot concrete under a magnifying glass!
The scientists were also surprised to find that the tiny mite ran at such great speeds on concrete heated to 140 degrees, well above temperatures that would kill most land animals. Researchers plan to study how the mites’ bodies sustain such great speeds and say it will open up new possibilities in the design of robots (Yeah, something tell us that designing robots that can outrun humans might not be a good idea).