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Michael & Jonathon state that there are differences between the trot and
pace. Of course there are. Read what I said carefully. I did not say they are
identical. My statement that the gaits are functional equivalents and cannot
be told apart in lateral silhouette. Compare plates 44 & 55 in Muybridge 1957
and imagine that the figures are solid black, the trot and pace are the same
in this view.
The canter is not as Jonathon suggested a separate level between the
trot-pace on one hand and the gallop, it is basically a slow gallop. J also
says that "I don't even pretend to understand how you can use the same
technical term to describe the motion of a straddle-legged croc" and a dog.
You also state you are not familiar with reptiles gaits. All those who have
published on the fast crocodilian bound call it a gallop. It is very similar
to the symmetrical gallop of squirrels etc. Don't get after me for using the
commonly applied term.
The largest sample comparing energy consumption in reptiles, birds and
mammals is the classic M Fedak & H Seeherman Reappraisal of energetics of
locomotion....... Nature 282:713-716.
Jonathon does exactly what is the problem with this discussion. He asks an
expert how fast elephants can move. The expert Haight then replies, with
claims that sound fantastical. That elephants can sprint at 30 mph for a
short distance, a speed way up into the mammalian galloping range, about 7
mph faster than Carl Lewis, only 4 mph less than a racing greyhound, and 8
mph less than the typical winner of a horse race. Haight provides no
documentation of how these speeds were obtained, so they remain as
unsubstantiated as they are implausible. What Jonathon should have asked
Haight is something like "what are the maximum elephant speeds actually
measured by reliable means, such as timed course, film analysis, or radar
gun". If Haight could cite studies or provide data then THAT would be
interesting. As it is it's just arm waving. Saying that it is not feasible to
accurately measure elephant speeds does not mean that we must take 20-30 mph
speed claims seriously. Science is based upon accurate information, and lack
of rigorous data is not a reason to accept unsubstantiated claims.