The Science of a Cheetah’s Speed | National Geographic

well the first thing that really strikes me it's just absolutely beautiful footage where you can see in incredible clarity what the cheetah is capable of there's a number of key elements here one of the most important ones is this spine so the spine of the cheetah is proportionately the the longest and the most flexible of any large cat species and that's really really important because it enables the cheetah to maximize the stride length keep by bunching and coiling that a spine alone it's able to expand this incredible stride rate which you see look at his back watch the back it's down now watch when he comes together watch when his hind feet come up look at the back go up just exactly like a coiled spring my golly if a horse headed back like that a horse could go 90 miles an hour look even though I've watched cheetahs run for over 30 years which is how long I've worked with them in that super slow motion I saw things that I'd never seen before and I don't think I really realize although I knew it intuitively that that head just never moves in the eyes stay focused this is the animal that hunts the neck stretched out the head steady look how steady that head is so it's not immediately obvious but the Cheetahs head as well has a whole suite of adaptations you can see this if you compare it to a fairly similarly sized animal the African leopard but you can see that the cheetah skull is is much shorter and much lighter so the reason for that is to help expand this nasal cavity so and to reduce the weight so this really enables that the cheetah to have a very lightweight head which you can see that marvelous moment in the footage which is keeping it very fixed on the preys you couldn't do that with an overweight and so having expanded nasal cavities here actually helps while she's suffocating the prey to be able to recover there's another really interesting thing that has only just recently been described about cheetah legs and that's the ratio of different types of muscle fibers so we know now that the muscles in the hind leg high in the high leg are dominated by these these fast twitch fibers so called fast twitch fibers and a particular type of them that enables very very explosive power I think the footage is really inspirational it's the first time that people including someone like me who's been really fortunate seen wild cheetahs many many times including many hunts but is able to see cheetahs in all their terrific evolutionary splendor when you see these cats running in this incredible slow-motion you see the perfection of everything that they are this is the cat that is utter perfection for what he does he does nothing but wrong it's all he can do he's not built to fight he's not built to compete with the other cats or even the other predators this is the only thing he can do the only thing the cat can do to survive the perfect running machine for a cat who hunts alone Wow you

You May Also Like