SCIENTISTS have uncovered the secret behind the extraordinary jumping ability of the white-handed gibbon, capable in the wild of leaping across more than 10 metres in gaps in the forest canopy. Using high-speed cameras and laser measurement, researchers recorded two captive gibbons - one an adult male, the other a juvenile female - as they jumped between trunks at a wildlife park in Belgium. They found the apes were able, in a single movement, to accelerate their bodies to a stunning 8.3 metres per second - nearly 30km an hour - in order to make a vertical jump of 3.5 metres. To achieve this performance, the gibbon needs to muster a reserve of pent-up energy and release it efficiently in a jolt through its muscles, tendons and skeletons. News.au