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Keywords:

  • African lion;
  • antelope;
  • buffalo;
  • fast locomotion;
  • limb bone stresses;
  • limb bone safety factors

Abstract

Peak stresses during fast locomotion in the humerus and tibia of the African lion have been estimated from a filmed prey pursuit sequence and skeletal dimensions of museum specimens; safety factors of the two bones have been calculated. The results are compared with the peak stresses (and the corresponding safety factors) during fast locomotion in the humerus and tibia of large (buffalo) and small (antelope) African bovids, which the lion is known to prey upon, estimated by previous authors using similar methodology. The comparison suggests that both the humerus and the tibia of a running lion have higher safety factors than those of its bovid prey running at the same speed.