|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Hi Jordan! I suspect it would survive. Think of a ship moving through water. The bow-wave of the ship is caused by the ship moving water out of the way to allow its passage. The force required to make the bow-wave is balanced by a force made on the ship, acting as a deceleration (braking) force which acts against the ship's motion. This force is dependent on the density and viscosity of the water, the shape and surface area of the ship, and the velocity of the motion squared. (v^2) This last term is a particularly interesting one. Let's imagine dropping bodies in air. Air is thinner than water - so the drag will be less (this is one reason why aircraft fly faster than passenger liners can sail). Gravity acts on the body, accelerating it so that the velocity rises. A body falling in air, assuming the air doesn't change much in density, and that the body doesn't change shape, will speed up over time. As the speed increases, the drag will rise quickly. At some point the drag force (trying to slow down the body) will equal the force of gravity (trying to speed up the body) and the body will achieve a stable velocity: this is known as the "terminal velocity". For a person in normal clothing the terminal velocity is around 200km/hr. But remember I mentioned the shape and surface area of the moving body were important? The same person with a deployed parachute might land at a mere 10km/hr. In this instance the terminal velocity is less, precisely because the surface area is greater, for the same falling mass. If I divided the size of this person by four, the surface area would be 1/16th, and the mass would be 1/64th. The terminal velocity would therefore be about 1/4 of the 200km/hr for the full-sized version. There are many tales of cats (which are about the size of my 1/4-sized person) surviving falls over many stories that would kill people. The tick (of about the same density as a human) is about 1/100th our length. I suspect a falling tick (or any other insect, for that matter) would reach its terminal velocity of about 2km/hr in very little time, and easily survive a landing from any given height. I hope this helps answer your question! Andy
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