Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who shattered two world records last week, may now be the world’s fastest human, but his accomplishments raise some intriguing questions about how he and other humans match up against the rest of the animal kingdom.
At top speed, Mr. Bolt hit about 30 miles per hour as he set his records (he averaged 23.5 mph over 100 meters). The cheetah, in contrast, can reach a top speed of 70 mph and maintain it for about 200-300 yards, long enough to cream Mr. Bolt. The pronghorn can run at about 65 mph and sustain a speed of 40 mph for 40 minutes. The wildebeest, lion and gazelle can all run at about 50 mph. The fastest horse can run a quarter mile at 44 mph.
At 200 meters, where Mr. Bolt just ran 19.19 seconds, the record for a horse is 11.49. At 100 meters, where Mr. Bolt ran 9.58 seconds, a greyhound could cover the same ground in 5.33 seconds…..Read More