A unified theory for the energy cost of legged locomotion.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Small animals are remarkably efficient climbers but comparatively poor runners, a well-established phenomenon in locomotor energetics that drives size-related differences in locomotor ecology yet remains poorly understood. Here, I derive the energy cost of legged locomotion from two complementary components of muscle metabolism, Activation-Relaxation and Cross-bridge cycling. A mathematical model incorporating these costs explains observed patterns of locomotor cost both within and between species, across a broad range of animals (insects to ungulates), for a wide range of substrate slopes including level running and vertical climbing. This ARC model unifies work- and force-based models for locomotor cost and integrates whole-organism locomotor cost with cellular muscle physiology, creating a predictive framework for investigating evolutionary and ecological pressures shaping limb design and ranging behaviour.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pontzer, H

Published Date

  • February 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 20150935 -

PubMed ID

  • 26911339

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4780550

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-957X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1744-9561

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0935


  • eng