What do you do when you get excited? Do you scream or clap your hands? Sometimes joy can only be expressed with a leap into the air. What are we talking about? Jumping for joy, of course!
Jumping doesn’t have to be confined to joyful moments, though. Jumping can serve many other purposes. It’s good exercise. It can be a fun part of many games. It can help you slam dunk a basketball. It might also help you reach fruit on a tree or escape from a high-speed chase with a cheetah!
If you’ve ever watched high jump competitions or an exciting basketball game, you’ve probably been quite impressed with how high many humans can jump. Believe it or not, though, there are many other creatures whose jumps will probably impress you even more!
To find the best jumpers in the world, though, you need to take a look at some amazing insects. For example, grasshoppers can jump 20 times their own body length. That’s like you jumping the length of a basketball court!
In July 2003, the journal Nature introduced the froghopper as the world’s greatest leaper. The tiny bug — just two tenths of an inch long — can leap 28 inches into the air. That’s like a human jumping over a 690-foot-tall building.
However, the flea — which is much smaller than the froghopper — can still claim the title of top jumper compared to its body size. Not impressed by the tiny flea? Then consider this: the flea can jump 220 times its own body length and 150 times its own body height. That’s like a human being jumping over 1,300 feet in distance over an 800-foot-high building!
Would you believe that there is an animal that can’t jump at all? It’s true! The elephant is physically incapable of jumping because of how heavy it is.
So how do human beings stack up to these other animal jumpers? We humans can obviously out-jump the elephant. Compared to the flea, though, we fall way short.
The best human jumpers compete in the high jump at track and field competitions. Currently, the world record holder is Javier Sotomayor from Cuba. In 1993, he jumped an incredible (for humans!) 8.03 feet!