Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Lifelike models of the oscillating legs treated as three-segment systems show the course of kinetic and potential energy over the locomotor cycle for a cheetah, pronghorn, jackrabbit, and elephant running at speeds approaching their maxima. The models can be adjusted to eliminate differences among the animals in time intervals, mass or length of limb, and joint angles. This facilitates analysis of the influence on total energy of each of these variables and of the distribution of mass among leg segments. Fast-cycling legs of the carnivore type have significantly more energy than those of the hoofed type. This may contribute to the lesser endurance that is usual for carnivores that hunt using a high-speed dash.
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