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Science. 1990 Aug 3;249(4968):524-7.

The energetic cost of limbless locomotion.

Abstract

The net energetic cost of terrestrial locomotion by the snake Coluber constrictor, moving by lateral undulation, is equivalent to the net energetic cost of running by limbed animals (arthropods, lizards, birds, and mammals) of similar size. In contrast to lateral undulation and limbed locomotion, concertina locomotion by Coluber is more energetically expensive. The findings do not support the widely held notion that the energetic cost of terrestrial locomotion by limbless animals is less than that of limbed animals.

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