Are humans really enduring animals?

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This content was published on July 28, 2012 - 3:57 am (Keystone-SDA)

If animals took part in the Summer Olympics, people could look pretty old. Usain Bolt, currently the fastest man in the world, could hang out on a dromedary while sprinting. He would have no chance against a cheetah, greyhound or ostrich.

This is reported by Veterinary Record, the journal of the Association of British Veterinarians, on Saturday. "Citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger) is the Olympic motto, but if we let the rest of the animal kingdom into the games ... we couldn't offer much competition," writes author David Sharp.

The Jamaican sprint star Bolt holds the world record in the 100-meter run with 9.58 seconds, which corresponds to a speed of 37.6 kilometers per hour. The fastest animal on land is the cheetah, which can reach speeds of up to 104 kilometers per hour.

A thoroughbred racehorse comes to 70, a greyhound to 69 and an ostrich to 64 kilometers an hour, explains the scientist from the Center for Sports Medicine and Performance Diagnostics at Brunel University in London. The dromedary, on the other hand, is a little slower than the exceptional athlete at 35.3 kilometers per hour.

Versatile person

When running a marathon, athletes cannot hold a candle to persevering animals such as camels or sled dogs. In the long jump they would be hopelessly inferior to kangaroos. These reach 12.80 meters, the human best is 8.95 meters.

The high jump record of 2.45 meters would be easily beaten by the springbok, which can jump higher than three meters. Grizzly bears and elephants would outperform weightlifters.

"We wouldn't win anything by running, jumping or swimming," is Sharp's conclusion. However, humans have an advantage. He is "really versatile". "We can sprint, cover long distances, jump, swim, lift weights." Therefore, athletes would have the most chances in competition with animals in a kind of decathlon in these disciplines.

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