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Ciao, cheetah: mighty mite crowned fastest land animal for its size

Paratarsotomus macropalpis is a safe bet at the races: it's more than ten times as fast as the cheetah for its size (Photo: SAMUEL RUBIN)

Paratarsotomus macropalpis is a safe bet at the races: it's more than ten times as fast as the cheetah for its size (Photo: SAMUEL RUBIN)

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Paratarsotomus macropalpis is the very essence of raw power and velocity. It may lack the majesty of the cheetah, but scientists now believe it's the fastest creature on the planet for its size -- by a long shot.

The new speed king is a mite.
Scaled up, that would correlate to about 1300 miles-per-hour for a 1.5 meter human.

Pitzer College physics student Samuel Rubin recently clocked the 1 millimetre speedster: the average maximum velocity of the mites in the study was 192 body lengths per second.

The cheetah, in comparison, averages a sluggish 15 body lengths per second.

Listen to why Mr. Rubin is so impressed, and see the fastest of all land animals, the Paratarsotomus macropalpis, in action here.

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