Did you know that wild turkeys are actually pretty fast at running? Neither did we, until we saw this video and started reading about the accompanying research of Dr. Thomas Roberts.

According to public radio program You’re The Expert (a program that tries to make academic research more accessible using comedy), Roberts studies animal movement and specializes in turkey locomotion.

How fast do wild turkeys run? Roberts told Digg“The turkeys run at a pace that I couldn’t sustain.” That’s about a six-minute mile, although they’ve also been clocked running even faster

turkey running

In the video and gif above, the wild turkey you’re watching in slow-mo is running at about four meters per second, which translates to a six-minute mile.

As a scientist, Roberts’ primary interest is comparative biomechanics. On his episode of You’re The Expert, he explained that turkeys made more sense to study for human purposes than many other animals.

The primary reason? Turkeys have two legs, not four. Another great reason to choose turkeys is that they’re just large enough, but not too large—an ostrich or an emu would be way too much to handle.

Surprisingly, this clip from Roberts’ team isn’t the only video of turkey on a treadmill on YouTube.

Two years ago, electronics and appliance chain hhgregg ran a commercial featuring a turkey on a treadmill. We’re betting they would have more clearly made their point if they’d hired one of Roberts’ marathon-runner wild turkeys:

All this research from Roberts’ team is helping to build better prosthetics for humans, to treat neuromuscular diseases, and also to design new and improved robots.

Now that we know all that, we’re pretty sure that we’ll all be more thankful for that delicious bird on our plates tomorrow.

[via Digg, You’re The Expert, Roberts Lab]