Energetics and mechanics of terrestrial locomotion. II. Kinetic energy changes of the limbs and body as a function of speed and body size in birds and mammals.

M. A. Fedak*, N. C. Heglund, C. R. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This is the second paper in a series examining the link between energetics and mechanics of terrestrial locomotion. In this paper, the changes in the kinetic energy of the limbs and body relative to the centre of mass of an animal (EKE, tot) are measured as functions of speed and body size. High-speed films (light or X-ray) of four species of quadrupeds and four species of bipeds running on a treadmill were analysed to determine EKE, tot. A mass-specific power term, EKE, tot/Mb was calculated by adding all of the increments in EKE during an integral number of strides and dividing by the time interval for the strides and body mass. The equations relating EKE, tot/Mb and speed were similar for all bipeds and quadrupeds regardless of size. One general equation for the rate at which muscle and tendons must supply energy to accelerate the limbs and body relative to the centre of mass seems to apply for all of the animals: E'KE, tot/Mb = 0.478 vg1.53 where E'KE, tot/Mb has the units W kg-1 and vg is ground speed in m s-1. Therefore, E'KE, tot/Mb does not change in parallel with the mass-specific rate at which animals consume energy (Emetab/Mb), either as a function of speed or as a function of body size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume97
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1982

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