I was reading an article today about a disease called tungiasis which is caused by the flea known as Tunga penetrans. One statement in the article grabbed my attention and struck me as possibly being an exaggeration.
Specifically, one reads in the article:
Can that be possible? A 1 mm organism jumping up 200 mm? My knowledge of basic mechanics is far too limited to prove or disprove the assertion. However, my intuition (ha!) makes me seriously doubt that there’s a mechanism that would permit an organism to jump vertically into the air to a height which is 200 times its length. It would be as if we could jump 1200 feet in the air!
I mean, using mechanical energy/forces alone, how could such a jump be accomplished? Even if a flea’s hind legs were as twice as long as its body (and scanning EMs indicate that they are less than that, approximately the same length as its body), it would be a case of a 2 mm lever or (spring?) propelling the entire body upward 100 times that length.
Bottom line - using basic principles of mechanics per se can one prove/disprove that a 1 mm organism can jump vertically to 200 mm?