Research

The strongest animal on earth can lift amazing weights.

Weightlifters raise impressive weights, but innature, there are other animals that can plug weightlifters in his belt. Paul Anderson may have been one of the strongest men on earth. He could carry eight people on a hump or drive a nail through two planks with one blow. In 1957, Anderson, as they say, raised 2.8 tons at the back. This temporarily brought him a world record, but subsequently the record was deleted due to the lack of supporting evidence.

No one ever, though he came close, could not surpass the feat of Anderson. At least a man. But in nature there are creatures capable of amazing feats of power.

For a long time, people used pack animals to transport goods. In the west, pack horses have been used since the Stone Age to carry heavy loads over rough terrain.

And although the 2008 study suggested that light horses should carry no more than 20% of their body weight, their heavier counterparts were specifically bred for strength.

Selectively breeding large animals, people createdgiants like the horses of Shire and Clydesdale. These heavy horses are known as "heavy" because of their pulling power. They helped people squeeze through the industrial revolution, first pushing carts and trolleys, and then barges and railcars with railroad material.

In fact, when the first steam engines appeared, they were comparable in strength to the traction horses.

Scottish engineer James Watt developedconcept of horsepower based on an experiment involving horses working on a millstone at a brewery. He considered that one horse could lift 15 tons to a height of one foot (about 30 cm) in one minute. This is sometimes viewed as a reappraisal of the power of an ordinary heavy horse, but a 1993 study concluded that Watt was almost right. In any case, his measurement was accepted, and it is still used to account for engine power.

In some places, horses are still used,traditional breweries, for example, and to attract tourists. They were also used for forestry, as they cause less alarm to the environment than heavy machinery.

"Horses have the same musculoskeletalthe apparatus, like the other horses, ”says Angela Whiteway of the Shire Horse Society in Market Harborough, UK. “Nevertheless, it is believed that closely spaced hind legs allow them to use power more efficiently than to horses whose legs are wide apart.”

Whiteuay says it’s customary to assume thatshire can comfortably pull twice as much as their weight. That is, a horse weighing one ton can pull two tons of weight. This is impressive, but there are other animals capable of even more.

In the east, Asian elephants were used totransportation of people and goods over thousands of years. Historically, they were the main feature of logging capacity, since they could pull heavy logs through the difficult jungle landscape. According to the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations, an elephant in Sri Lanka typically carries 3-4 tons per day.

John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, studied the movement of Asian elephants. He attributes their strength to several features.

While the skeletons of many mammalsmake up about 10% of their body weight, in elephants this figure is closer to 20%, which gives them a more durable frame. Hutchinson also says that their even limbs allow them to withstand the downward force of gravity better and keep their own weight plus any load.

And there is a wonderful trunk. It does not contain bones or cartilage, only 150,000 bundles of muscle fibers. This multifunctional appendage allows elephants to communicate over vast distances, lift individual branches, strengthen social ties - and lift significant weights.

As with our own records,maximum lifting weight of the elephant is unknown. An elephant can lift up to 300 kilograms only with its trunk. African elephants can weigh a ton more than their Asian counterparts, so it may well be even stronger.

In terms of clean tonnage, the elephants are quitemay be the strongest of living animals. But, of course, they are quite large in their own right. And that means that the strongest animals should be the smallest.

Ants are known for their powerlifting abilities in the animal kingdom. Their strength varies from species to species, but some ants are able to lift a weight 10-50 times their own.

In 2010, an Asian ant-tailor (Oecophylla smaragdina) was filmed while lifting a weight 100 times its own weight of an ant, researchers at the University of Cambridge.

When lifting weights, people rely on muscle.backs and elephants use their trunks. Ants lift weights with their powerful jaws. The Ondontomachus ants have such powerful muscles in their jaws that if they bump the mandibles into the ground and cling to it, they can throw themselves into the air.

There is another group of insects with a talent to lift weights: beetles.

From an insect named after an ancientHercules demigod, you can expect serious power. But the old tale that the Dynastes hercules beetle can lift 850 times its body weight is as unfounded as the Paul Anderson record.

Hercules beetles belong to the grouprhinoceros beetles. Insect movement expert Roger Cram of the University of Colorado at Boulder, determined to learn the truth, put the rhinoceros beetle to the test. And I found out that they can carry only 100 times their weight.

In 2010 he was crowned the new strongest in the world.beetle. As is customary in the stories about the humble origin of people-champions, he lives in simple conditions. The horned dab (Onthophagus taurus) can lift up to 1141 of its own weight.

Rob Nell from Queen Mary University in Londondiscovered the power of dung beetles, exploring his mating tactics. Males use their horns to fight rivals, pushing them out of the tunnels and away from females.

In proportion, with the force of the horned dung beetleonly the armored tick (Archegozetes longisetosus) can compete. It is microscopic, weighs only 100 micrograms and lives in the soil of the forest. In 2007, scientists discovered that he could lift 1,180 of his weights.

The unusual power of these creatures is due to the vagaries of physics.

Galileo Galilei was right when he wrote in his book of 1638 “Two New Sciences” that small animals are proportionally stronger and stronger than large ones. It's all about the ratio of power to weight.

Larger animals may have strongermuscles, but since most of the force goes to maintain the animal’s own weight, there is not much left for the additional weight. In contrast, tiny creatures need to carry a smaller mass, so they can release more force to lift weights.

There are some more additional biologicalfactors that favor small animals. For example, the larger the animal, the more energy it needs to support important functions like breathing and circulation. Having a simpler and more compact internal system, smaller animals like beetles can invest more energy, which is obtained from food, in building strong exoskeletons that lift weight better than soft tissues.

This means that although insects may exhibit an amazing proportional force, you cannot scale it to human size and expect it to continue.

The ant mass will increase in accordance with its volume, so the dimensions will be cubed. But the strength depends on the surface area of ​​the muscles, and therefore will be a square.

"An ant the size of a man would be incredibleweak, because the cross-sectional area of ​​his legs will increase significantly less than the volume of his body, ”says biologist Claire Asher. “He can't even stand. And breathe. Ants use tiny holes - spiders - to distribute oxygen in the body, but in human sizes these tubes will be too small to provide oxygen to the whole body. ”

These principles apply to all animals, and each body type can work only in a limited range of sizes. Neither giant killer ants nor King Kong could exist.

And that means the most powerful animals that now live onEarth, can represent the strongest animals that ever lived in principle. Earth was home to creatures with more elephants - dinosaurs - but these animals could hardly be stronger than elephants. Strength has its limits.