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. Have you ever been so happy that you jumped for joy?

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!

Bharal, for example, live in the Himalaya Mountains and jump from cliff to cliff. Hares and red kangaroos are two other great jumpers who can also run very fast.

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!

Even though grasshoppers are impressive jumpers, they’re not the best insect jumpers. That title goes to either the flea or the froghopper (also called the spittlebug).

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, most say that 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 more than 1,300 feet in distance over an 800-foot-high building!

However, some experts argue that yet another animal might out-jump the flea. But unfortunately, a face-to-face jump-off is unlikely to happen. Why? Because this animal lives in the ocean! Copepods have up to five pairs of legs. Their leg muscles have ten times the force of any other jumping animals that scientists have studied!

So how do human beings stack up to these other animal and insect jumpers? Compared to the flea, they fall way short. But 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!

How high can you jump? Will you break the world record one day? There’s only one way to find out! Go outside and give it a shot.

Standards: NGSS.LS1.A, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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