In 1993, Javier Sotomayor did what nobody
can repeat to this day: he jumped over 8 ft in height. But to become the absolute champion
Javier would have to jump onto the Eiffel Tower. Confused? I can understand! Let me
explain. Looking at the average human, you can’t
help but wonder: how in the world did this soft and, let’s be fair, clumsy-looking
creature even get to the point where we all rest now? We certainly aren’t the apex predators
here. We aren’t the fastest runners, ask cheetahs about that. We can’t properly swim
or fly, we don’t succeed even in climbing, but somehow, we’ve climbed to the top rank
of nature itself. But we certainly didn’t jump up there.
You think jumping – you think something like a kangaroo. These animals don’t even
walk – they hop. But, boy, are they good at that! They can speed up to 44 mph over
short distances and on distances over a mile they will outpace the best human athletes
that ever lived. All thanks to their mighty legs, but some can also use their thick tails
as a third leg to launch them high up. Kangaroos can jump over two average people standing
on top of each other. You know Shaq? There is a mouse that can jump
well over his head in one hop and it’s a kangaroo mouse. In a way, it’s even cooler
than what a kangaroo does because it’s tiny! The kangaroo mouse owes its name to the big
Australian brother, because it also moves by jumping on the two hind legs. When it jumps
9 ft high it jumps 10 times its own body length! It can change direction however it wants with
every leap. Good luck catching this one! Moving on to the ocean – dolphins are the
best jumpers here. They can jump 10 ft over the surface of the water, and there is a chance
you’ve seen it in a dolphinarium at least once. The cool thing about dolphins is that
since they live in water, they have no need to jump like that. They do it for sport and
just for the fun of it, just like us. Some animals may become champion athletes
simply because they live beside nasty and always hungry beasts like lions or cheetahs.
Impalas certainly do, and they can leap over a small bus. Add this to the fact that they
run pretty fast, and you get the idea behind that initial leap – it keeps impalas safe.
And Lions themselves are no joke either. Even my cat can jump right on the fridge to get
to the yummy treat. Double that height– this is how high a lion can jump. Thing like
that really makes you hope you never get to be in poor impalas’ hooves.
Mountain lions are even jumpier, though. When you have to leap from cliff to cliff and you
need to catch something like a mountain goat for dinner, you know your whole life depends
on every single jump you make. Mountain lions, also known as Cougars and Pumas have to hop
high – 20 ft high to be precise. Basically, that means a puma can jump over giraffe’s
head. Now that’s some hgh hoppin’! Yet when it comes to long jumping – there
are too many cheaters! They cheat, because they sorta can fly or glide. Even fish do
that – a flying fish can jump up above the water and use its fins to fly for over 40
seconds straight. Flying squirrels can glide over a football field at once. And even flying
snakes can do that by launching themselves off the trees and slithering through the air
in an S shape for over even longer distances. My judgment on that – gliding is totally
banned in this competition. It may seem that if you would jump like a
frog can, you would be able to hop onto the Statue of Liberty easily. But here is a catch
– we think frogs are good at hopping because they jump really far, not high. When it comes
to distance it’s around 40 to 50 times their body length. The absolute leap-master though
is American bullfrog, which can jump over 7 ft. A frog-human superhero would jump over
the whole wingspan of a Boeing 747 with this ability!
If I learned something from cartoons, it’s that you should never try to catch the road
runner. You’ll go over the cliff and splat in the canyon every time. But I also learned
that rabbits are excellent at jumping. White-tailed jackrabbit, in particular, is one of the mightiest
jumpers you can ever meet. The best recorded hop this fluffy long-eared pal ever performed
would make it land right on top of a giraffe’s head. Even mountain lions would learn to respect
that. If a predator needs a concentrated leap to give its best jump, rabbits would do that
any second as soon as they’re startled. And if I learned something else from cartoons
– rabbits are easily scared! Except for Bugs Bunny. Not scared that one.
Grasshoppers can make all of the previous contesters run for their money. Ever seen
those catapults they use for legs? That’s their musical instrument, but most importantly
it’s a jumping machine capable of launching them from any danger.
I really didn’t want to get to this scary part, but spiders jump too. And the worst
thing – they can live everywhere. If you want to assure your safety from them – go
to Antarctica. But seriously, they are harmless and extremely tiny, and kinda cute looking
things. Their legs aren’t powerful — they can just expand like pistons, launching them
up over 50 times their own length. It’s like having boots with springs in them! Jumping
spiders sure know how to have fun. “Barking” spiders are another thing entirely.[fart sound]
But still, it’s nothing next to a froghopper. This tiny insect jumps straight up 27.5 in,
which is 100 times its body length. Among the insects, it’s the jumpiest it possibly
gets. Kangaroo with this kind of hopping power would jump on the Great Pyramid of Giza. Let’s
just say, human athletes definitely don’t stand a chance beating that.
But there is one contestant that can still fight for the title of the best jumper in
the world. A flea. It jumps only 10 in high, but for something that small it’s as if
a person could jump over a 250 ft tall building — or the Eiffel Tower. Its long legs allow
it to jump 200 times its own body length, and lift objects 150 times heavier than the
flea itself. Fleas are more like space rockets than insects,
because while they launch into the air, they go through a lot more acceleration force than
a rocket does when taking off. And just like astronauts, they can’t go on for a long
time even if a tiny hole appears in their sturdy armor. Overall, fleas are yucky, but
in the jumping record charts, you need to give credit where credit is due. They are
the best jumpers in the whole world! But trap-jaw ants can surprise even a flea.
Not in how far and high they can jump, but how fast. For an outside observer it will
seem like a trap-jaw ant just disappears in a fraction of a second. In reality, trap-jaw
ants can open their jaws 180 degrees, store a lot of energy inside their head and then
– snap! When in danger, a trap-jaw ant aims its head downwards, and launches itself up
in the air. Faster than a speeding bullet! Tiny plankton copepods are even more impressive
than that, though they too play a bit dirty. While living in water, they still jump through
it, because being so tiny under the pressure almost bans you from conventional swimming.
Fortunately, copepods have more than capable legs. They launch them forward with the velocity
of 1,000 times their body length per second. It’s one of the most powerful movements
ever recorded in the whole animal kingdom. I guess it would still have to come out of
the ocean to beat a flea in this competition, but in the water, it has no equal.
I don’t know about you, but this whole topic is making me kind of jumpy. Yes I said it.
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