Alan Wilson

Alan Wilson is Professor of Locomotor Biomechanics and head of the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the RVC, University of London. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon and physiologist at Glasgow University and obtained his PhD on the mechanics of tendon injury at Bristol University. His research focuses on mechanical and physiological limits to locomotor performance in species ranging from racing pigeons to cheetahs. Currently he is studying iconic African mammals such as lion and wildebeest in Botswana using novel GPS and motion-tracking equipment.

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Fastest mammal on land (short distance)

The fastest mammal on land is the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). When measured over a short distance the cheetah can maintain a steady maximum speed of approximately 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) on level ground. However, research completed by Professor Craig Sharp of Brunel University, London, UK in 1965 recorded accurate speeds of 64.3 miles per hour (29 metres/second or 104.4 kilometres/hour) for a 35-kilogram (77-pound) adult female over a measured distance of 201.2 metres (220 yards or 660 feet). These speedy cats are found racing through the open plains of sub-Saharan Africa, Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.