Not that springbok above. He’s firmly on the ground. I’m talking about this one, making like a Super Mario brother:
You might have soared like this in your dreams, as those who discovered the gif on Reddit are discussing; when springboks do it, it’s called stotting, pronking, or pronging, all of which seem inelegant wording compared to the actual behavior.
There are numerous theories as to why they do this–plainly, it isn’t to clear any obstacle or chasm. Could it be a signal to potential predators that this would-be lunchmeat is waaaay out of their league and will leave hungry carnivores in the dust? Is it a form of play among the young? Or are they just trying to impress the ladies (“You know what they say: long jump, long…”)?
If I were a springbok, I’d do it because it’s awesome, just like the way skaters and other extreme athletes get air time. Granted, that’s some major projection on my part, but what land-bound creature wouldn’t dream of flying? Quadrupeds aren’t going to be gaining wings in our lifetime, so who’s to say they don’t imagine being super-powered just like we do?
Also, judging by the reactions of Princess Peach and Lois Lane, it really is an appealing skill for males to have.
Do you dream of stotting? Is it a smooth ride, or a lot of stotting and stopping? Leap down to comments and leave a fly impression.