According to a study, humans will never go faster than a cat. The characteristics of our body make that we could not exceed a certain speed in the sprint according to the scientists.
In the 100-meter event at the Tokyo Olympics, Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs won the gold medal crossing the finish line in just 9.80 seconds. Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah killed two birds with one stone when she finished first on the podium with a time of 10.61 seconds, breaking the women’s Olympic record.
Although these sportsmen and women have won, they will never be as fast as a cat. Even Usain Bolt, who achieved incredible speed records, would lose the race in the face of this small domesticated feline, according to Wired. But what elements really determine top speed?
Researchers at the University of Stuttgart, have established laws to explain what can lead to differences in maximum stroke speeds in animals. By publishing a study in August 2021, in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, scientists presented a complex model that included factors such as height, leg length, muscle density, and more. These criteria were used to them to discover which components of the body design are most important for perfecting speed.
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40 parameters allow you to understand the movements
According to Wired, Michael Günther, one of the researchers of the study, explains that the aim of the project is “To understand the reasons for evolution, and why and how it shapes the body”. He adds that “If you ask this question in a mechanical way, you can really better understand how body design is shaped by changing demands, for example, being fast”.
Not wishing to stop only at the principles of classical physics, the researchers built a specific model. The latter has nearly 40 parameters relating to body design, stroke geometry, and compensation for competing forces working on the body.
Inertia and resistance in the air affect speed
The results of the study allowed scientists to define two important elements in the optimization of the maximum running speed. The first is resistance in the air, which is characterized by the opposing force acting on each leg as it tries to push the body forward. THE’inertia is the second element. It is defined by “The resistance of an object to accelerate from a state of rest”.
According to Robert Rockenfeller, another researcher in the study, inertia can vary depending on the mass of the animal. The larger it is, the more difficult it will be to overcome it. The ideal weight to gain the upper hand on these two elements would be 100 pounds (approximately 45 kg).
The researchers therefore determined the theoretical maximum speeds of different bodies. As a result, although Usain Bolt was able to reach speeds of around 43 km / h, humans are still slower than domestic cats, according to Wired.
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