Scientists have discovered the world's fastest ant. It is the Saharan silver ant. It runs at a speed of just over 3kph, but that is the same ant speed as a human running 580kph. The ant runs 108 times the length of its own body every second. This is quicker than an Olympic 100-meter runner. The world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, ran the 100 meters using 4 strides a second. The Saharan silver ant uses up to 50 strides a second. The scientists say this much movement almost breaks the limits of what is physically possible for a living thing. Each of the ants' feet makes contact with the ground for a very short time. The ants' feet touch the ground for just seven milliseconds before they take the next stride.
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The scientists said the Saharan silver ant runs so fast because it lives in the hot desert. The sand can reach temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius, so the ant wants to spend as little time as possible with its feet on the scorching ground. Another reason is that if the ants' feet spend a longer time on the sand, they will sink a little and slow the ant down. Professor Harald Wolf wrote about why the ants' feet move so fast. He said: "These features may be related to the sand dune habitat. They could prevent the ants' feet from sinking too deeply into the soft sand." Professor Wolf told CNN: "We knew these ants would be fast, but nobody knew how fast exactly, and how they would achieve that speed."