Stride length and its determinants in humans, early hominids, primates, and mammals


  • Thomas R. Reynolds

    1. Department of Anatomy, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, New York 11568
    Current affiliation:
    1. 9 Woodbine Street, Coram, NY 11727
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Primate stride lengths during quadrupedal locomotion are very long when compared to those of nonprimate quadrupedal mammals at the speed of trot/gallop transition. These exceptional lengths are a consequence of the relatively long limbs of primates and the large angular excursions of their limbs during quadrupedalism. When quadrupedal primates employ bipedal gaits they exhibit much lower angular excursions. Consequently their bipedal stride lengths do not appear to be exceptional in length when compared to other mammals. Angular excursions of the lower limbs of modern humans are not exceptionally large. However, when running, humans exhibit relatively long periods of flight (i.e., they have low duty factors) when compared to other mammals including primates. Because of these long periods of flight and their relative long lower limbs, humans have running stride lengths that are at the lower end of the range of stride lengths of quadrupedal primates. The stride length of the Laetoli hominid trails are evaluated in this context.