Tiny California mite sets record as world's fastest land animal

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Fastest Creature In The World Is A Mite?

The title of "fastest land animal" doesn't belong to the cheetah or Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt -- instead, it goes to a tinier creature. Much tinier. Like, the size of a sesame seed.
Tiny California mite sets record as world's fastest land animal
Cheetah famly in field with anthill (Photo by: Hoberman/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A cheetah walks in the snow at Mulhouse zoo, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt looks on after a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt shows his sneakers during a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
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Samuel Rubins, a physics major at Pitzer College, recorded the speed of a paratarsotomus macropalpis and found that it can cover a distance of 322 times its body size in one second.

Let's put that into perspective. Usain bolt, the fastest man alive, is 6'5" and can run nearly 28 miles per hour. That's barely more than six body lengths per second. If Bolt could move with speed relative to that mite, he could sprint at more than 1,300 mph.

An animal like a cheetah may cross a longer distance in less time, but it's the physics behind the p. macropalpis that really interest researchers.

In Rubin says, "Looking deeper into the physics of how they accomplish these speeds could help inspire revolutionary new designs for things like robots or biomimetic devices."

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego.
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