How Does the Speed of Humans Compare to Other Animals?

Humans are pretty slow compared to other animals. While cheetahs can travel at speeds of around 75 mph (120 km/h) and free-tailed bats can fly at around 60 mph (96.6 km/h), humans are much slower, with the record human footspeed being around 27.79 mph (44.72 km/h), which was set by Usain Bolt. (Note that Usain Bolt's time was, of course, for a 100 meter dash and he probably couldn't keep up this speed for miles — the mph/km/h figure is only for comparison to the other figures provided.) Even Usain Bolt's remarkable time is slower than horses and kangaroos, which can get up to about 44 mph (71 km/h); greyhounds, which can run about 43 mph (69 km/h); and even sheep and house cats, which can run about 30 mph (about 48 km/h), and for much longer times than Bolt's sprints.

More about animals and speed:

  • Many sea animals are extremely fast too, with sailfish reaching speeds of around 68 mph (about 110 km/h) and even leatherback sea turtles reaching speeds of 22 mph (about 35 km/h).

  • Though humans aren't very fast, they are great in terms of endurance for their size. This is likely because sweating and other means of temperature regulation keep them from overheating like many animals do when running long distances.

  • Human speed doesn't really vary because of how fast runners move their legs: fast and slow runners have close to the same rate of movement. The difference lies in the amount of force that the runner pushes down with.

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Discussion Comments


Sheep are fast!

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