Monday, August 18, 2008

Fastest Land Animals

So the other night we were watching the Olympics on TV, kind of. I mean the TV was on and tuned to the channel showing the Olympics, and we were all in the room at the same time. Is this actually watching TV though?

Anyway, the men's 100 meter event was being televised at the time. I think I've seen it since so I have no idea when it actually happened. So someone asked me what the speed would be in miles per hour. I am asked because for some reason I am supposed to either know this kind of stuff or be able to figure it out. On the other hand if the toilet needs fixing then it would be someone else who was asked. We all have our specialties you see.

But I can figure out stuff like miles per hour. I rounded the time off to 10 seconds for 100 meters. Hopefully Mr. Bolt will forgive me for rounding his 9.69 seconds to 10 but 10 is just a lot easier to work with when one has no calculator and when one has achieved 60 years. Often .31 seconds is not so terribly important unless a gold medal is at stake.

One hour is 60 minutes and one minute is 60 seconds; so, that means that one hour is 3600 seconds. Mr. Bolt ran for 10 seconds and traveled 100 meters. So if I multiply 10 seconds by 360 I would have an hour. I multiply the distance by 360 at the same time to keep everything equal and that gives me 36,000 meters. See why I chose to stay with 10 and 100?

Someone, during my calculating, said that it would be impossible for Mr. Bolt to keep that pace for an hour. While I agree that is likely true it doesn't really change the problem.

Okay, so how many miles is 36,000 meters? I had to do this rather laboriously in my head when I was in front of my audience. I only remember that one meter is about 39 inches. One mile is 1760 yards. So to get meters I have to multiply my 1760 by 3 inches. But I already know that 1760 yards multiplied by 3 is 5280. Because I know that 5280 feet is a mile. Ha ha - even crazy to me! So 5280 inches I divide my 36 inches per yard and I do it in my head just really fast and approximate and get 150 which I then subtract from my 1760 which gives me 1610. So basically for me in my head a mile is about 1610 meters. Then I have to divide 1610 into 36000 which is about 22.

But now that I am blogging, well, Google is my friend. Type into the Google search box "36000 m in miles" and touch enter and the answer reported almost immediately is "36 000 meters = 22.3693629 miles."

So Mr. Bolt, who had just set the world record for 100 meters, ran at a rate of 22.37 miles per hour. My answer, sans GOOG, was pretty close.

Then someone said well how does that compare with a horse?

I found this handy table thanks to GOOG (cool name Home Work Spot):

Fastest Land Animals

Animal Speed
(miles per hour)
Cheetah 70
Pronghorn Antelope 61
Wildebeest 50
Lion 50
Thomson's Gazelle 50
Quarterhorse 47.5
Elk 45
Cape Hunting Dog 45
Coyote 43
Gray Fox 42
Hyena 40
Zebra 40
Mongolian Wild Ass 40
Greyhound 39.35
Whippet 35.5
Rabbit (domestic) 35
Mule Deer 35
Jackal 35
Reindeer 32
Giraffe 32
White-Tailed Deer 30
Wart Hog 30
Grizzly Bear 30
Cat (domestic) 30
Human 27.89
Elephant 25
Black Mamba Snake 20
Six-Lined Race Runner 18
Wild Turkey 15
Squirrel 12
Pig (domestic) 11
Chicken 9
Spider (Tegenaria atrica) 1.17
Giant Tortoise 0.17
Three-Toed Sloth 0.15
Garden Snail 0.03

Horses are about twice as fast as Mr. Bolt and they are a whole lot faster than I am.

I was interested to note that the Grizzly Bear is considerably faster than Mr. Bolt as well. I already knew this but seeing the difference in numerical form is intriguing.

Made me think of the old joke about the two guys in the woods that meet the bear and one begins to run away and the other guy says "you can't outrun a bear" and the runner says "I don't have to outrun the bear, just you."

Another interesting thing is that chickens and pigs are slower than humans and yet if you've ever tried to catch either that is hard to believe.


Lori1955 said...

You are cracking me up Flinty. I think I would have gone directly to Google. According to your chart, I guess I would be a spider. :)

flintysooner said...

Yes, I should label this as silly.

That table may not be too accurate since it reports human speed as 27.89 mph. That's a fast human.

There's no Internet at my mother-in-law's where this originally happened.

Having just read my blog entry my method of calculating miles per hour was a bit unintelligible even for me.

I noticed my snake post got me to over 100 visitors yesterday though.

~Betsy said...

Wow! So I wonder how fast Michael Phelps swims in MPH and where that puts him on this chart...

flintysooner said...

Phelps covered 200 meters in 1 min 54.23 seconds. Using Google:

200 meters in miles = .124274238

.124274238/(114.23/3600) = 3.91654781 miles per hour

flintysooner said...

Faster than a spider. Slower than a chicken.