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Biol Lett. 2016 Feb;12(2):20150935. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0935.

A unified theory for the energy cost of legged locomotion.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA New York Consortium for Evolutionary Primatology, New York, NY, USA herman.pontzer@hunter.cuny.edu.

Abstract

Small animals are remarkably efficient climbers but comparatively poor runners, a well-established phenomenon in locomotor energetics that drives size-related differences in locomotor ecology yet remains poorly understood. Here, I derive the energy cost of legged locomotion from two complementary components of muscle metabolism, Activation-Relaxation and Cross-bridge cycling. A mathematical model incorporating these costs explains observed patterns of locomotor cost both within and between species, across a broad range of animals (insects to ungulates), for a wide range of substrate slopes including level running and vertical climbing. This ARC model unifies work- and force-based models for locomotor cost and integrates whole-organism locomotor cost with cellular muscle physiology, creating a predictive framework for investigating evolutionary and ecological pressures shaping limb design and ranging behaviour.

KEYWORDS:

biomechanics; energetics; locomotion

PMID:
26911339
PMCID:
PMC4780550
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2015.0935
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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