Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pure Speed

Registering speeds over 270 mph, the peregrine falcon is nearly five times faster than a cheetah - the fastest animal on land. No living creature on the earth can compare when it comes to speed ... or maneuverability.

When a peregrine falcon attacks, it assumes a 'lock and load' stance and plunges. It can either kill it's prey with a sharp blow with its claws, or paralyze it by striking the neck of the prey with it's powerful beak. Aside from a membrane which covers its eyes (much like a shark) during a dive to avoid dust scratching its eyes, the peregrine falcon can rotate on its own axis and ultimately experience up to 25 g-forces. This means that the peregrine falcon can withstand a force 25 times the force of gravity. In other words, if you weighed 100 pounds, your body would weigh 2,500 pounds when pulling out of a dive like this. If any human tried to do that, every bone in their body would shatter. The peregrine falcon is able to withstand such forces because its bones flex and move with the force (much like bamboo does) instead of assuming a rigid stance (like wood).

If you've seen its attack, you may be reminded of many of today's fighter jets. In fact, air forces have developed jets with wings that fold in a manner similar to the peregrine falcon.

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