Putting Mountain Lions On Treadmills ... For Science
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Because you mean a lot to us, we'd like to show you a video of a mountain lion on a treadmill:
UC Santa Cruz
Welp, article over. See you next time, everyone!
Wait, you mean we have to explain that? Shit. The goal of this experiment was to determine how much energy mountain lions use in their daily activities in order to calculate their calorie requirements, which will be of use to conservationists, ecologists, and 24 writers. And what simpler way to achieve that than taking a member of a vicious predatory species that's notorious for an uncooperative attitude and getting it to enjoy the same light exercise that your grandparents partake in?
It took 10 months to get the cats treadmill-ready. The main trick was getting them to face forward and not look down at their feet, which tended to cause what we assume were hilarious wipeouts. Like many great things in life, this was accomplished by bribing the subjects with food. The team also had to build longer and quieter treadmills that wouldn't freak the animals out, and then they had to find a gym where the Pilates class would be cool with sharing their space with apex predators.
No official word on whether "Eye Of The Tiger" was blasting at all times, but come on.
Basically, putting mountain lions on treadmills is the least practical experiment you can conduct, short of shooting rats in heat at the moon with a cannon. The team was well aware of this, as most of their data came from collars with accelerometers in them that the cats happily wore. But dammit, they put mountain lions on treadmills anyway. Truly, the pursuit of knowledge and cool stories to tell about your job at parties knows no bounds.
You can read more from Mark, or learn about the time he tried to shoot robotic mountain lions dressed in lingerie at Jerry Seinfeld, at his website.
Also check out 5 Bits of 'Common Knowledge' Science Has Disproved and 5 Mysteries About the Human Race That Science Can't Explain.