How the hell can grizzly bears run so fast?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Dr Lou Natic, Nov 18, 2003.

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  1. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    I've got a bone to pick with nature, whats the deal with grizzly's being able to run so fast?
    It seems to defy the laws of physics. Watching one chase down a deer that was obviously built for speed feels like you're watching a cartoon.
    How is this possible? they can run faster than racehorses for christ's sake.
    When was it required that they run this fast for starters? They are intelligent opportunists, and seem to be able to find ample food without hunting fast game. Like sure it helps but I always would have thought bears were the kind of animal that would make it through without adapting the ability to run such fast speeds.
    Like with cheetahs it was absolutely required for survival, their main food source's speed would have increased from being chased and hence cheetahs had to catch up or starve.
    And then look at all the speed adaptations cheetahs have, bears are on the absolute other end of the scale, but really aren't all that much slower. Cheetahs have long tails that act like rudders to make sharp turns, but tailless bears can turn on a dime at 60 clicks, cheetahs also have special flexible spines and this and that blah blah blah. There is nothing about a grizzly that is designed for speed, its just a side affect or byproduct of god knows what.
    Plus all the weight gained over the spring and summer and autumn doesn't seem to affect them. I've seen gigantically fat grizzly bears at their absolute peak after gorging themselves for months in preperation for hibernation still run down sleek hooved running machines with ease.
    How does this all work? Is it just another mystery of nature?
    I mean seriously look at a racehorse and a grizzly, one has adapted its ass off to be the fastest it can be, the other just sort of be'd a bear but can for some reason kick the others ass at its own specialty.
    Is this a glitch in the matrix or what?
     
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  3. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    A bear is a giant weasel.
     
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  5. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe that is all muscle and not fat, or mostly muscle. If it is all that muscle then or most of it then Bears don't have to be so aerodynamic to be fast...as long as a car has a beefy motor it could generate surprising amount of power in a boxy body, i am guessing that is the same with a bear.
     
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  7. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    By the end of summer ALOT of it is fat, but I see what you are saying sarge and thats what I was thinking.
    They are just so strong that they over power gravity and wind resistence. Its still rather amazing.
    I think what really makes me scratch my head is how fast they can turn at high speeds.
    It must feel amazing to be that physically capable.
    I can totally relate of course, I mean it would feel amazing for normal people to experience, aah yeah

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  8. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah. Its all about the muscle. You don't need to be skinny to run and, sometimes being light makes it more difficult as you loose your center of gravity which is the most important thing to bears.

    Take me as an example: Years ago, at the age of 14, when I was *fat* (165 pounds at 5'6") and none of my classmates could beat me at the 100m dash. I had way more testosterone than anyone my age (deep voice, huge muscle mass in the legs, zero masturbation leads to crazy amounts of excess testosterone) an excess of creatine (which the bears really need,) and a low center of gravity which kept me leaning forward and also from slowing down against resistance. Then there was my upper body strength which was also a great contributer..I ate like a bear, I ran like a bear and I was bear (well...ermm...actually not.) But thats what I remember about how my out-of-place talent was even possible.

    Turning corners on the 300m dash with such a low center of gravity is good fun too.
    edit to add:
    It *does* feel amazing. Showing everybody up with raw power. The 'feelilng' you have right before it's your turn to run. The simplest way I can explain it is a feeling of massive amounts of untapped energy in the legs. You want to release it. When the race is done, its like having an orgasm.

    Then there's the low self-esteem and other health problems that come with being overweight. Nowadays I can run even faster though I'm much leaner. What I dont have anymore is that 'feeling' in the legs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2003
  9. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Are u joking me?!

    My favourite animal since I was about 2 was the cheetah so don't get me started! A cheetah can run on average, more than twice the top speed of a bear. In very short bursts it can run nearly 3 times the bears speed. I also believe racehorses have average speeds at least 10 mph faster than bears. Where did u hear this and is it specififc to one species of bear?
     
  10. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Seriously, a bear is a giant frickin' weasel. That's why they're fast.
     
  11. curioucity Unbelievable and odd Registered Senior Member

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    Let someone tell us here how grizzlies <i>accelerate</i>..... I think that's what is a hidden question here....
     
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I can put a good bet bears don't have the endurance of a horse or deer. I bet if you were 12 feet tall, weight 1600lb in muscle and had four legs you could also run at 40mph for at least 100meters.
     
  13. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

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    Cheetah's do wreck grizzlies. Cheetah's top speed is over 70 mph and Grizzlies top out at about 30 mph. The human speed record is 28 mph, so we're actually not that much slower.

    Lion's (50mph), greyhounds (45 mph), horses (40 mph), and reindeer (32 mph) all can outrun grizzlies as well. So it might just be slower one's you've seen getting caught. I don't know about manueverability, but I would imagine grizzlies are not the state of the art ... certainly not comparable to cheetah's.

    Endurance at top speeds is certainly a question as well, power driven speed consumes energy at very high rates. Predators only have be fast enough to catch an animal ... prey needs speed to escape whenever they're chased even if they've been chased by another animal just before.
     
  14. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    About as fast as an American Quarter Horse. Zero to 30 in about a second and a half.

    General horsepower to weight ratio will decide how fast a given animal can accelerate, and what it's top speed is. As a former (failed) drag strip racer, I can tell you that acceleration is definately what wins the race in a quarter-mile duel. If the grizzly is quicker off the mark, the deer is definately at a disadvantage.

    :m: Peace.
     
  15. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    Are you sure you got your numbers correct scilosopher?
    I'm sure I've heard it said many times that grizzly bears are faster than the fastest race horses.
    And I'm not sure about acceleration but I've seen a grizzly run way faster than I've ever seen a lion run, and I pretty much live for lion documentaries.
    I guess it could have just seemed like that because lions never seem to run long enough for you to get an idea of how fast they're going.

    Thats the thing, bears should have good acceleration but no lasting power, being large and muscular they should be like short distance runners. But they aren't, check the "opportunists" episode of the life of mammals, a bear chases a deer up and down a hill swerving trees etc for ages and never slows down. It seems to just get faster.
    I know that any cat in the same situation would have given up long before that bear did.
    I've just seen it so many times, they can't chase like that, even though they have all the special adaptations for the chase.
    And they are lighter built than bears, aren't marathon runners usually lightly built and sprinters heavily built?
    Well from what I have seen big cats are lightly built(compared to bears) but can only run short distances, while bears are more heavily built but can run long(er) distances(than cats).
    How does that work?
     
  16. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Then why don't people ride them?
     
  17. curioucity Unbelievable and odd Registered Senior Member

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    goofy.....
    *stares at the screen with mouth open...*
    Never know that......
    Okay. For animals, what are the factors that determine how quickly an animal accelerates?
     
  18. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Factors for acceleration:
    Muscular cross-sectional area
    Tendon thickness
    Body weight
    Arrangement of leg bones (with respect to length and mechanical advantage)
     
  19. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Some animal speeds from the Encyclopedia Brittanica -
    • Squirrel: 12 mph
      Turkey (wild): 15 mph
      Elephant: 25 mph
      Human: 28 mph
      Cat (domestic): 30 mph
      Grizzly bear: 30 mph
      White-tailed deer: 32 mph
      Giraffe: 32 mph
      Reindeer: 32 mph
      Greyhound: 39 mph
      Hyena: 40 mph
      Zebra: 40 mph
      Elk: 45 mph
      Quarter horse: 48 mph
      Lion: 50 mph
      Cheetah: 70 mph
    :m: Peace.
     
  20. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    gosh...a hyena is quite fast.
     
  21. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    It has to do with their streamlined body and graceful flowing gait.

    I love hyenas... those spotted dudes are the best.
     
  22. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    Hyenas are cool, they get a bad rap from assholes

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    Thanks for those speeds goof, this thread was a huge waste of time then, seems I was misinformed.
    Am I the only one that has heard it said many times that grizzlies are faster than racehorses?
    Its something I've heard all my life, just random people saying it all over the place. I guess it was a load of shit.

    But they do run seemingly too fast for their build and for too long.
    Dogs over 200lbs can't run for shit. Even if they're pure muscle. 1000lbs grizzlies with a layer of fat can still run like maniacs.
    Dogs and bears are fairly closely related no?
     
  23. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Dogs are not very closely related to bears.
     
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