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Re: "running" elephants

Vlad Socha wrote:

BTW, the study of elephant running speed seems incorrect to me. I
mean, the value of 25 km/h is much less, than many african (if it was
really _L. africana_ not _E. maximus_) hunters would give you. Famous
Czech traveler, J. Wagner himself clocked one old female running at
over 40 km/h when attacking a jeep. And it was old and big
individual, very likely over 5 tons of weigh.

Our study focused on Asian elephants, as folks that read the paper will see. We did not talk about African elephants. I have heard the 40kph speed for Africans over and over again from many people and in the literature. I am still skeptical about it, but science must be done so we shall test it soon enough. At that speed, based on our data from Asian elephants, even a big African elephant would be airborne and truly running in any sense. But maybe they are doing something differently. The 4 captive African elephants we've worked with didn't do anything different than the Asians, BUT they were "couch potato" elephants at 10mph. With Africans, I'd be surprised at any speed >25kph, but can't say it's impossible. Measuring speeds accurately is tricky stuff; I don't trust any anecdotes. I think researchers interested in maximum speeds should be measuring such things in real live animals with good standards of accuracy, so we did that.

=========================================== John R Hutchinson NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow Biomechanical Engineering Division Stanford University Durand 209, BME Stanford, CA 94305-4038 http://tam.cornell.edu/students/garcia/.trex_www/naturepaper.html http://www.stanford.edu/~jrhutch/fast_elephants/wanalee/index.html (650) 736-0804 lab (415) 871-6437 cell (650) 725-1587 fax ===========================================