Animal Athletes Top The Podium At UO Museum

Mar 3, 2020


"Natural Athletes" is the museum's first fully bilingual exhibit.
Credit Karen Richards

Which mammal is best at the high jump? A new exhibit at U of O’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History has the answer, profiling some unique adaptations. 

Of the seven featured track and field events in the “Natural Athletes” exhibit, humans win only one. Each station shows the science behind an animal’s gold medal.

The museum’s Kristin Strommer says the red kangaroo is the long jump champion, noting, "One of the structures that’s responsible is the achilles tendon. Kangaroos can store three times the energy that we have in our human achilles tendon. So we’ll have a couple springs set up where visitors can press on them and really feel the difference.”

Strommer says some U of O research is also highlighted, including Michael Hahn’s work on a prosthetic foot designed to both walk and run. The exhibit opens March 7th and goes through August, to coincide with track meets at nearby Hayward Field. The exhibits’ event dominated by humans, by the way, is the javelin throw. 


International athletes, often Paralympic competitors, are profiled along with the animal champions.
Credit Karen Richards