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Locomotion and bone strength of the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum

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Abstract

Measurements have been made, of lengths and of geometric properties of cross-sections, of the long bones of the legs of a young white rhinoceros of about 750 kg body mass. These are considered in conjunction with data from film of white rhinoceros trotting and galloping. The stresses developed in the bones in running are rather low, in comparison with other large mammals, suggesting that rhinoceros skeletons may be built to unusually high factors of safety. The long, relatively straight legs of elephants (whose bones experience higher stresses) are contrasted with the shorter, less straight legs of the other graviportal mammals.

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