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Re: Definitions of running (was RE: RE: Complaining)
"We do find evidence that elephants run in a sense,"
said first author John Hutchinson, a Stanford
postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of
Mechanical Engineering. "It's an intermediate
sort of gait, but it looks like what we
biomechanically would call running. They don't leave
the ground, which is the classical definition, but
they do seem to bounce, which is the biomechanical
The problem with saying that elephants can run is that elephants cannot
really run the way most mammals can. Saying animals can either just walk or can
run is to simplistic, there are as above notes transitional forms like
elephants that have barely some running attributes, but are much slower than
most mammals and cannot even trot like hippos much less gallop like rhinos (not
a simple size thing, an adult horse the same mass as a juvenile elephant is
almost three times faster, its the flexed limbs and perhaps mass dedicated
to locomotion that makes the difference).
The way it should work is this.
If an animal cannot achieve "a bounce" nor a suspended phase then it cannot
run and is only walking (fits salamanders I think, turtles, maybe the
biggest sauropods since even just walking their long strides could have gotten
them to the elephant max of 15 mph).
If it can achieve a bounce in a least one set of limbs but cannot bounce
enough to get all feet off the ground at the same time then it is semirunning
or ambling (elephants, unitatheres, most sauropods, derived stegosaurs).
If it can achieve enough bounce to get all feet off the ground then it is
achieving a full or true run (bipedal run, hopping, trot, pace, canter,
gallop) (most limbed reptiles, most all dinosaurs including giant theropods,
giant ornithopods, giant ceratopsid, big ankylosaurs [albeit barely], many
birds, most mammals including hippos [they can really haul all that fat around
those dinky limbs, no point in trying to outrun one], brontotheres,