Cheetahs on the hoof

This extraordinary bit of film “Cheetahs on the edge: the director’s cut,” is described by National Geographic:

Cheetahs are the fastest runners on the planet. Combining the resources of National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo, and drawing on the skills of a Hollywood action movie crew, we documented these amazing cats in a way that’s never been done before.

Using a Phantom camera filming at 1200 frames per second while zooming beside a sprinting cheetah, the team captured every nuance of the cat’s movement as it reached top speeds of 60+ miles per hour.

The extraordinary footage that follows is a compilation of multiple runs by five cheetahs during three days of filming.

For more information about cheetah conservation, visit

h/t: daveau


  1. marksolock
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  2. Joe Dickinson
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Watch the video, then answer this question that I used to pose to my students: why do dolphins, in contrast to sharks, have horizontal flukes and use a vertical power stroke?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Because dolphin vertebrae have bendy springiness [& can store etastic energy] in the vertical plane while sharks have it in the horizontal plane?

      • Marella
        Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the mammalian spine bends in the opposite plane to the fish spine for historical reasons and when mammals returned to the sea they kept that bending arrangement. It would be interesting to know if there was a difference in efficiency of the two planes.

        • abrotherhoodofman
          Posted November 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Well, from my brief research it appears that mammals like dolphins and orcas cannot hope to match the speed of sailfish, tuna, and mako sharks.

          This doesn’t directly address your “efficiency” question though, especially since mammals have lungs, and the other creatures listed have gills.

          I do like the term “bendy springiness, however!

    • Colin
      Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Cuz dem Dolphinz evolved fromz land aminalz!!

    • jose
      Posted November 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Did any student ever bring up seals? Their feet are sort of vertical like a fish tail.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    It could be my Firefox settings I suppose, but I can’t get audio on the embedded version here on WEIT, nor see the volume control

    I can at Vimeo though:-

    Wonderful ~ especially comparing the slomo & the real time footage towards the end of the clip. Must be some powerful catnip on the end of that string! I noticed the crew watered the meadow prior to the runs ~ perhaps to reduce the risk of leg injury or to increase traction?

    Thank you Daveau

  4. marlonrh
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Felines have to be the ultimate land predators. What I notice after the powerful back and hind legs is the rock steady head and visual focus. If you are a little furry animal, or a gazelle, you do not want to see one of these in your rear-view mirror.

  5. garardi
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    is it becaue it is a composite video or do they really change leg rythm as they run? it started of fl, rl, rr, rl and altered part way through

  6. David Neff
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Talk Atheism.

  7. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The cheetah is hella impressive, but what about the blazing speed of that dark-grey land sponge it was chasing?


  8. Cremnomaniac
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Exquisite and stunning. It’s not just the grace of their motion, but absolute beauty of these animals. I was moved by this video, and when the last bit played where the Cheetah passes the camera at full speed, I choked and my eyes teared.

    It seems to me that the sense of wonderment I, and other science minded individuals share, exceeds that of the religious. It may be their attention to a creator distracts them from the creation.

    I just wish humanities appreciation of nature was deeper and more could see its intrinsic value, and place it above monetary values.

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