Mechanical and energetic scaling relationships of running gait through ontogeny in the ostrich ('Struthio camelus')

Smith, Nicola C and Wilson, Alan M (2013) Mechanical and energetic scaling relationships of running gait through ontogeny in the ostrich ('Struthio camelus'). The Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB)(216), pp. 841-849. ISSN (print) 0022-0949

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Abstract It is unclear whether small animals with their high stride frequency and crouched posture or large animals with more tendinous limbs are more reliant on storage and return of elastic energy during locomotion. The ostrich has a limb structure that appears to be adapted for high speed running with long tendons and short muscle fibres. Here we investigate biomechanics of ostrich gait through growth and, with consideration of anatomical data, identify scaling relationships with increasing body size, relating to forces acting on the musculoskeletal structures, effective mechanical advantage (EMA) and mechanical work. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected through growth from running ostriches. Joint moments scaled in a similar way to the pelvic limb segments as a result of consistent posture through growth, such that EMA was independent of body mass. Since no postural change was observed, relative loads applied to musculoskeletal tissues would be predicted to increase during growth, with greater muscle, and hence tendon, load allowing increased potential for elastic energy storage with increasing size. Mass specific mechanical work per unit distance was independent of body mass, resulting in a small but significant increase in the contribution of elastic energy storage to locomotor economy in larger ostriches.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Royal Veterinary College.
Uncontrolled Keywords: biomechanics, economy, gait, locomotion, growth, effective mechanical advantage
Research Area: Biological sciences
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing (until 2017) > School of Life Sciences
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Depositing User: Automatic Import Agent
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2012 11:00
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2014 17:02

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