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The half inch long dung beetles are the strongest living creatures on Earth. The male insects of this small species of insects can lift or pull 1141 times their own body weight. It is just like an average sized human carrying 80 tons or 72574.8 kg.
The news might take the shine off the title of World’s Strongest Man for Lithuanian Zydrunas Savickas; in 2009 he pulled a 70-tonne plane for 30m in under 75 seconds – this works out as only 411 times his 170kg body weight.
What makes dung beetles so strong?
Small creatures all seem strong relative to their size, because their strength is relative to the cross sectional *area* of their muscles, not their weight or volume. If you double the length of an organism, the muscle cross-section goes up four-fold, but the weight and volume go up 8 fold – so you get bigger-er not stronger-er.
Another way of looking at it is that if a dung beetle can lift it’s own weight, then if it were to double in size, it could only lift half of its weight, without developing proportionally bulkier muscles.
This topic was famously covered in a 1928 essay by JBS Haldane, called “On being the right size”. I think it’s one of the most lucid science essays I’ve ever read.
Well, today at work I was barely able to lift a heavy box (to me) of files, weighing 15 kg. My weight is 43 kg only, and if I take the load ( 15 ) and divide it by my personal petite weight ( of 43 kg), the result is 0.35 – which is a very rough SWR !!
The Link above does mention working out this ratio uses averages including “Bench presses”. You may, like me, innocently ask “But what IS a Bench press ??” It is laying on your back and picking up weights on a bar and raising them up and straight above, in my terms. Looks dangerous to me! Wikipedia says:
This page HERE mentions averaging out your ratios after different types of exercises, like squats and bench presses. The closest I note that matches lifting a heavy (for me) box is the DEADLIFT – read HERE for info.
However, my “dead-weight Lift” involved a square shape and a dense solid mass, not a nice (looking) bar with weights at either end – this different structure makes a difference to your SWR.
The box I lifted was destined to go to an off-site storage company, that has a weight limit for each packed box (to be picked up and carried by their drivers) – – – and that Limit is 16 kg. Not bad therefore that I could lift 15 kg, in my great opinion.
My 43 kg weight converts to 95 pounds. I used THIS site to work out that (in theory) a 45 kg female could or should (if she wanted) lift a 26 kg dead-weight. Speaking for myself, I had best do some intense “resistance” (strength) training, before I attempt picking up and lifting a BARBELL (bar to attach weights to) with any weights on it at all !!
If you are keen to find out more about weight training equipment for human beings, try THIS page. It mentions the lightest weight plates (which affix to the barbell) are 2.5 pounds for Americans or 1.13 kg for Australians. It seems an average barbell itself (without the weights at the end) weighs 20 kg. It would be a great day when I dead-lift 21 kg total (barbell + 0.5 kg weight at each end), let alone 26 kg -barbell plus a 3kg weight at each end.
That would mean a SWR of approximately 0.5 up alot from an SWR of 0.35 for my “dead-box” lift today (LOL). I would be happy with being able to lift 50% of my body weight, even if the Weaver Ant can lift 10 to 50 times its body weight !!