What are the relations between mechanics, gait parameters, and energetics in terrestrial locomotion?

Authors

  • Donald F. Hoyt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Equine Research Center and Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California 91768
    • Biological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768, USA
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  • Steven J. Wickler,

    1. Equine Research Center and Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California 91768
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  • Darren J. Dutto,

    1. School of Physical Activity and Health, Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, Oregon 97850
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  • Gwenn E. Catterfeld,

    1. Equine Research Center and Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California 91768
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  • Devin Johnsen

    1. Equine Research Center and Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California 91768
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Abstract

Are the different energy-conserving mechanics (i.e., pendulum and spring) used in different gaits reflected in differences in energetics and/or stride parameters? The analysis included published data from several species and new data from horses. When changing from pendulum to spring mechanics, there is a change in the slope of metabolic rate (MR) vs. speed in all species, in birds and quadrupeds there is no step increase, and in humans there are conflicting reports. At the trot–gallop transition, where quadrupeds are hypothesized to change from spring mechanics to some combination of spring and pendulum mechanics, there is a change in slope of MR vs. speed in horses but not in other species. Stride frequency (SF) is a logarithmic function of walking speed in all species, a linear function of trotting/running speed, and nearly independent of speed in galloping. In humans and horses there is a discontinuity in SF at the walk–trot (run) transition but not in birds. The slope of time of contact vs. speed does not change with mechanics in most species, but it does in humans. In horses and humans, there is a discontinuity at the walk–trot (run) transition and data for other species do not permit generalization. Duty factor (DF) in humans is greater than 0.5 in walking (pendulum mechanics) and less than 0.5 when running (spring mechanics). However, this is not true in many species that have DF>0.5 at the lowest speeds where they use spring mechanics. When trotting at low speeds, horses use forelimb DF>0.5 and hind limb DF<0.5. Thus, it is confusing to distinguish between walking and running by DF. J. Exp. Zool. 305A, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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