Do dogs walk like elephants?


A new study published in Current Biology shows that anatomists, taxidermists, and toy designers get the walking gait of horses and other quadruped animals wrong about half the time. That’s despite the fact that their correct walking behavior was described and published more than 120 years ago.

About 50 % of the time people can explain which foot leads and which follows correctly, but many books and children’s toys get it wrong said Gabor Horvath of Eotvos University.

Experts of animal locomotion have known how a quadruped walks since the 1880s.”

All four-legged animals step with their left hind leg followed by their left foreleg. Then they step with their right hind leg followed by the right foreleg, and so on. Animals differ from one another only in the timing of that stepping.

Why do they walk like that?

The universality of that walk provides the maximum static stability. When walking slowly, a dog’s or elephant’s body is supported at all times by three feet on the ground, which form a triangle. The closer their center of mass is to the center of those three points, the more stable they will be.

Do the movies get animated movement correct?

Horvath and his colleagues  thinks Hollywood movies such as Jurassic Park and The Lord of the Rings generally do get the walking of dinosaurs, elephants, and other fantastic, four-legged creatures just right. That’s because they often rely behind the scenes on experts in biomechanics and animal locomotion.


How Does A Dog Walk? Surprisingly, Many Of Us Don’t Really Know Staff  Flora and Fauna TerraDaily Staff Writers Budapest, Hungary (SPX) Jan 29, 2009

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