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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

            definition." 

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 
on 
those dinky limbs, no point in trying to outrun one], brontotheres, 
indricotheres).   

GSPaul

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