Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cheetahs' Speed Is Only Half the Story, Study Finds

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cheetahs' Speed Is Only Half the Story, Study Finds

Article excerpt

If the cheetah were a vehicle, it would have the acceleration of a Ferrari, the stopping distance of a Formula One racer, and the turning radius of a Toyota Yaris.

Most people know that the cheetah is the fastest land animal - a recent study clocked captive cheetahs at almost 65 miles per hour - but a new study has found that the African felines' swiftness is only part of the picture.

Researchers at the University of London's Royal Veterinary College affixed collars outfitted with GPS and inertial sensors to five wild cheetahs in northern Botswana, and monitored the cats' behavior for 17 months. Their study, published in the current issue of Nature, found that, in addition to their blistering speed, the cats' were also capable of some of the greatest rates of acceleration and deceleration of any land animal.

The specially developed collars, which included solar cells, accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes, precisely monitored the cheetahs' movements as they chased down their prey - usually impalas - in 367 events. …

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