Energy expenditure of bipedal walking is higher than that of quadrupedal walking in Japanese macaques



The authors previously compared energetic costs of bipedal and quadrupedal walking in bipedally trained macaques used for traditional Japanese monkey performances (Nakatsukasa et al. 2004 Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 124:248–256). These macaques used inverted pendulum mechanics during bipedal walking, which resulted in an efficient exchange of potential and kinetic energy. Nonetheless, energy expenditure during bipedal walking was significantly higher than that of quadrupedal walking. In Nakatsukasa et al. (2004 Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 124:248–256), locomotor costs were measured before subjects reached a steady state due to technical limitations. The present investigation reports sequential changes of energy consumption during 15 min of walking in two trained macaques, using carbon dioxide production as a proxy of energy consumption, as in Nakatsukasa et al. (2004 Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 124:248–256). Although a limited number of sessions were conducted, carbon dioxide production was consistently greater during bipedal walking, with the exception of some irregularity during the first minute. Carbon dioxide production gradually decreased after 1 min, and both subjects reached a steady state within 10 min. Energy expenditure during bipedalism relative to quadrupedalism differed between the two subjects. It was considerably higher (140% of the quadrupedal walking cost) in one subject who walked with more bent-knee, bent-hip gaits. This high cost strongly suggests that ordinary macaques, who adopt further bent-knee, bent-hip gaits, consume a far greater magnitude of energy during bipedal walking. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.