Monday, August 3, 2009
In boxing, there is the concept of the best boxer 'pound for pound'. Well, ounce for ounce, the rhinocerous beetle (coming in at less than 1 ounce) is the strongest animal in the world.
After reading a report in the Guiness Book of World Records that the beetle could lift 850 times its own weight, tests were performed at UC Berkeley to determine how strong this beetle was. While falling short of Guiness' claim, the beetle still lifted 100 times its own weight (equivalent to a 100 lb man carrying almost 2 hummers). A weight lifting champion can only lift 17 times his weight in one lift.
Just as astonishing, while carrying 30% of its weight, the beetle did not tire even after half an hour (This would be like a 150 lb man carrying a Cadillac for the same period). During this period, the beetle's only consumed 4 times the oxygen of normal metabolic rate - what this means is that even at 50% their own weight, the beetle doesn't really seem affected by the weight!
Scientists are now testing the exoskeleton, and more importantly the beetle's muscles, to determine the reason for the beetle's enormous strength.