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

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.


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.

Join the discussion

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cortez31 April 30 2014 at 8:44 PM

This is pure rubbish!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
hark4109 April 30 2014 at 9:58 AM

Comon< Give me a break! That is like "apples and oranges"

Flag Reply +3 rate up
missingafeather April 30 2014 at 9:40 PM

is a mite even considered an animal?????
come on folks get real

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1 reply
abourge458 missingafeather May 01 2014 at 9:50 AM

Any and every taxonomy book calls them animals.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
qynsim2000 April 30 2014 at 1:07 PM

I agree, this is a stupid comparison.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
maswain002 April 30 2014 at 2:02 PM

Someone should explain to the author that a mite is an INSECT and NOT AN ANIMAL.
Seriously, how ignorant could one possibly be to claim an insect is an ANIMAL...duhhh?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
dich123 April 30 2014 at 2:50 PM

I wanted to see it run.

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3 replies
solarious April 30 2014 at 3:15 PM

YEAH CAUSE WHEN A GAZELLE IS GRAZING I'M SOO SURE IT WOULD MUCH RATHER SEE A CHETTAH RUNNING AFTER IT THAN THIS THING..............

Flag Reply +1 rate up
qaqs9000 April 30 2014 at 3:24 PM

Some people just like stupid comparisons. Steam engines can produce massive amounts of hot gasses but are not even close to congress people that can produce more hot gas than any steam engine.

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abourge458 April 30 2014 at 3:38 PM

Yeah but.... Dropped out of a plane, ( No parachutes) us humans will beat that mite to the ground every time!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
usci1 abourge458 April 30 2014 at 5:27 PM

and make a bigger mess too! Forget "carbon footprint"! We have "splat imprint"!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
anthdif April 30 2014 at 4:33 PM

isn't a mite an insect and not an animal?

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