A chubby wombat can beat an Olympic sprinter: What is their maximum speed?

Textbooks say Australian wombats can rival Olympic sprinters in speed. Really?

Wombats are a family of marsupial mammals native to Australia. The height of these animals reaches 100 centimeters, and their weight is 20-35 kg. IFLScience writes that they are famous all over the world for their appearance and the unusual shape of their intestines, or rather the feces they produce.

If animals competed in sporting events and were selected for their appearance, stocky short-legged wombats would probably be better suited for wrestling or weightlifting. But textbooks say these curious animals can move incredibly fast, in fact reaching the speed of an Olympic sprinter.

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Although this fact is described in textbooks, scientists have long debated whether this is really the case. Victoria Museum staff decided to put an end to this story and appealed to scientists around the world with a request to shed light on how much maximum speed wombats can actually develop.

The museum’s demands were initially met with skepticism, until Dr. from the University of Adelaide, who was working on wombats in the field. Until David Taggart responded to the request. According to the scientist, wombats are really capable of developing an incredible speed of up to 40 kilometers per hour. Thus, if the animal can maintain this speed throughout the entire 100-meter distance, it will break the world record set by humans: The wombat will cover this distance in 9 seconds, while the human record is 9.58 seconds.

Interestingly, it takes wombats almost no time to reach top speed, so they are quite capable of breaking the human record. But there is one “but”: animals cannot maintain maximum speed for a long time. According to Taggart, they maintain maximum speed over a short distance of about 50 meters.

Taggart says his work has focused on wombats for the past 30 years. He and his colleagues had previously observed animals and how they reached top speeds, but their work did not focus on that. In fact, scientists were trying to capture wombats: in total, they were able to examine about 12,000 animals and capture about 2,600.

Remember that the only way to catch a wombat is to surprise it. The fact is that these animals spend most of their time near their burrows and therefore they are difficult to catch. Also, since burrows have many exits, there is no point in waiting for a wombat at the exit of a burrow. However, with the onset of the mating season, animals move further and further away from their nests, and scientists capture the animals during this period. In fact, scientists chase wombats short distances until the animals tire and stop to rest.

It is unknown how wombats learned to develop this speed. However, scientists believe this may be due to dingoes, predators that threaten them. It is unlikely that one individual will be able to cope with an adult wombat, but if there is a herd of dingoes, the latter should move as quickly as possible. Speed ​​has also been attributed to the need to escape from thylacines, but speed is unlikely to be the best defense against an ambush predator.

Previously Focus He wrote that scientists used geolocation radar to find elusive wombats.

Source: Focus

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