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Why is not the fastest animals the biggest animal? German study

Why is the cheetah which is said to be the fastest animals on the ground faster than the smaller mice, faster than the larger elephant? Research results to explain this question, was published recently in the British scientific journal sister magazine “Nature,” “Nature Ecology & Evolution”. The theoretical model presented by the paper says that it is not limited to cheetahs and explains why mid-size animals are fastest.

german study

German researcher Miriam Hilt and others explain, “The time required for acceleration is the deciding factor of the maximum speed that an animal can reach.”

As the animal accelerates, the muscles move with anaerobic exercise that can take energy instantaneously. When the energy that can be used in anoxic exercise is exhausted, it becomes the maximum speed, but there is not much energy that muscle can use with anoxic exercise.

According to conventionally known theory, the heavier weight is said to increase the theoretical maximum speed. In this theory, however, we can not explain that elephants and blue whales, which are known as large animals, are not as fast as medium cheetahs or pinball gloves.

Therefore, researchers built a new theory in consideration of “the time necessary for acceleration” in the conventional theory. More heavy weight animals, to reach the theoretical maximum speed but requires a long acceleration time, energy used for anaerobic exercise acceleration as described above is limited. The graph on the left side d of the figure below shows the curve by adding these information.

In other words this is, “large animals, in order to not be able to for a long time of oxygen-free movement about reaching the maximum speed on the theory, fast not run as medium-sized animals” it represents that. The expression that draws a “bump” shape curve is said to match well with running animals, flying animals, and swimming animals.

german study

The conventional theory and the model shown in this paperFlying, walking, matching with the model in each swimming animal
Conventional theory (left a, b) and the model shown in this paper (left c, d), flight, walking, model match animals swimming respectively (right)
This “hump” shape curve says that the maximum speed of extinct species can also be predicted. And to extend the combined curve to the extant species of the data, it is slow speed of Tyrannosaurus of body weight 6 tons than weighing 20 kilograms of dinosaur Velociraptor, it can be seen is more of heavier 27 tons of plant-eating dinosaurs Apatosaurus more slow.

german study

It is predicted that the maximum speed of large animal species can be predicted than extinct dinosaurs and existing species
Without the results of the extinct morphological model calculation parameters when making curve model, since the curve is in good agreement with the value coming from the morphological model, the present model for larger animal species Researchers have said that they can make appropriate predictions.


Also see: International Space Station to make it searchable on Google Street View

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