Running baby animation

Where Did The Running Baby Animation Come From? The Origin Of The Green Baby Running At 32 MPH Video Explained

A bizarre video showing a CGI-baby waddling and then running at speeds up to 32 miles an hour became a viral meme in the early 2020s, but left many viewers confused about why the video exists in the first place. Often appearing in oddly specific baby memes (like the brief 4 Seasons Orlando Baby trend of 2024), the green Running Baby Animation didn't really need context to go viral.

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But fans of a certain early-2000s Animal Planet show will instantly recognize the graphics that appear in the Running Baby meme. Here's how a strange clip from Animal Planet's The Most Extreme went viral nearly 20 years after it first aired.

Where Does The Running Baby Meme Come From?

The television show The Most Extreme aired on Animal Planet in the early 2000s, taking a scientific analysis of the "most extreme" creatures in the animal kingdom. In September 2004, The Most Extreme aired an episode titled, "Toughest Babies," highlighting how some babies in the animal kingdom have special talents and skills to help them survive.

One segment of the show discussed baby giraffes, and how even the youngest of giraffes can run at breakneck speeds shortly after giving birth. The show then used a graphic showing a human baby running at comparative speeds, which is how we ended up with a clip of a baby outpacing Olympic runners.

How Did The Green Running Baby Become A Meme?

Nearly 20 years after the segment first aired on Animal Planet, memes about the Running Baby began to spread online, initially through TikTok. User @iamyourburgerman gathered over 5 million plays on a repost of the clip in March 2023, with other TikTokers using it as an exploitable format in subsequent months.

@iamyourburgerman Fast baby. Watch out #animalplanet ♬ original sound – Julian

@hansssrl BYE I AM NOT HUGGING A 10FT MOTH DEMON 💀💀💀 #thevees #valentino #vox #velvet #atthirtytwomilesanhour #yournewbornbaby #caneasilyoutrun #olympicsprinters #floptok #meme #newbornbabymeme #hazbinhotel #vivziepop #vivziepophazbinhotel #favoritecharacters #fypシ #foryou #fypシ゚viral #fypシ #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp ♬ original sound – the REAL vox – #1 voxval shipper || hansel 🦘

The meme also made an appearance on Tumblr in 2023, as seen in a September, 2023, post by @prohaloplayer that gathered over 40,000 notes. In October of that year, X user @coolgirl0nline posted the running baby meme alongside text that read, "my nephew just learned how to walk ❤️," gathering over 4,000 likes in seven months (seen below, right).

prohaloplayer Follow 32 RPH my dastardly b of a son Speedfast Turboquick making a mockery of olympic track and field athletes Blaze 43,269 notes coolgirlonline @coolgirlOnline my nephew just learned how to walk II GIF • 8:04 PM Oct 24, 2023 1.6M Views ...

For the full history of the Running Baby animation, be sure to check out Know Your Meme's encyclopedia entry for more information.

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