Monday, 25 November 2019

Simple model explains why different four-legged animals adopt similar gaits


Date: November 21, 2019
Source: PLOS

Most mammals walk at slow speeds and run or trot at intermediate speeds because these movement strategies are energetically optimal, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology by Delyle Polet and John Bertram of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

When unconstrained at a given speed, members of a quadrupedal species will generally select a common gait, which is seldom unique to that species alone. With few exceptions, mammals choose a walk at slow speeds, a running trot at intermediate speeds, and a gallop at high speeds. The consistency of gait choice is remarkable, given how many alternatives exist. In the new study, Polet and Bertram explore why quadrupedal mammals move in such consistent ways, when so many options are available. They tackled this problem by determining energetically optimal gaits using a simple computational model of a four-legged animal.

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