The analysis, published in this week's Nature scientific journal, highlighted the cheetah's impressive acceleration and ability to change direction rapidly, attributing the cat's hunting success to this maneuverability.
The cheetah is the fastest animal on land, having been recorded at a top speeds of 70 mph to 75 mph.
The researchers, led by Alan Wilson of the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, England, studied 367 runs by five cheetahs in the wild using a collar that tracks precise location and acceleration data.
The authors studied acceleration and turning speeds, and note cheetahs can pick up their pace by as much as 3 meters (about 10 feet) per second in a single stride.
The authors said the calculated muscle power output of cheetahs during acceleration is the highest for any land mammal. By way of comparison, the feline's calculated muscle power is about four times greater than that of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt during his record-breaking 100-meter sprint.
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