Ideas and Discoveries magazine — Getting in the way of 2000 rampaging wildebeests would be suicide once a herd of wildebeests is in motion, it simply devlops to much power. Moving at speeds of up to 50 mph, this 450-ton, 2000-foot-wide living steamroller careens across the savannah, trampling anything that gets under its hooves.
Their sheer numbers and unstoppable momentum make Africa’s 1.5 million wildebeests one of the most terrifying forces of nature on the continent. The sudden stampedes are most often triggered by the presence of a predator — or more prcisely, by the first animal in the herd to spot a predator. If a wildebeest sounds an alarm and gallops off in one directionit will be followed by thousands more within fractions of a second. Changes in the direction of the hear’s movement happen as if guided by an invisible hand, without any time delay: swarm intelligence oeprating at 105 degrees F in the shade.
The mass functions as a weapon — no lion would face off against this wall of raging brutes, which is studded with sharp horns. A wildebeest stampede is one of the most powerful natural phenomena on the planet.