Predicting the energy cost of terrestrial locomotion: a test of the LiMb model in humans and quadrupeds.
The energy cost of terrestrial locomotion has been linked to the muscle forces generated to support body weight and swing the limbs. The LiMb model predicts these forces, and hence locomotor cost, as a function of limb length and basic kinematic variables. Here, I test this model in humans, goats and dogs in order to assess the performance of the LiMb model in predicting locomotor cost for bipeds and quadrupeds. Model predictions were compared to observed locomotor cost, measured via oxygen consumption, during treadmill trials performed over a range of speeds for both walking and running gaits. The LiMb model explained more of the variation in locomotor cost than other predictors, including contact time, Froude number and body mass. The LiMb model also accurately predicted the magnitude of vertical ground forces. Results suggest the LiMb model reliably links locomotor anatomy to force production and locomotor cost. Further, these data support the idea that limb length may underlie the scaling of locomotor cost for terrestrial animals.
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