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Paratarsotomus macropalpis: Outruns cheetah? Takes animal's long held title

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Paratarsotomus macropalpis is the official scientific name for a Southern California mite that is smaller than a sesame seed and so happens to the fastest land animal on Earth. The cheetah has famously been the sole title holder with a speed of about 60 mph in this category, but it's been edged out by a tiny, unglamorous mite. Who would have thought?

The Washington Post reported on April 30 that Claremont Colleges researchers studied these mites and came up with the Paratarsotomus macropalpis being the fastest land animal. As the report, stated, the cheetah's speed equals 16 of its full body lengths per second while the mite travels at an astounding 322 body lengths per second.

The mite's speed basically equates to "Usain Bolt running at 1300 miles per hour," the report said.

This also means the Australian tiger beetle has been moved as the world's second fastest animal -- running at 171 body lengths per second.

Speed determined with these animals in relation to body size. Given the fact this California mite is smaller than a sesame seed, its seems difficult to imagine it being so fast. The Paratarsotomus macropalpis has a number of legs as well to work with its body lengths!

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