Inter-stride variability triggers gait transitions in mammals and birds.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Speed-related gait transitions occur in many animals, but it remains unclear what factors trigger gait changes. While the most widely accepted function of gait transitions is that they reduce locomotor costs, there is no obvious metabolic trigger signalling animals when to switch gaits. An alternative approach suggests that gait transitions serve to reduce locomotor instability. While there is evidence supporting this in humans, similar research has not been conducted in other species. This study explores energetics and stride variability during the walk-run transition in mammals and birds. Across nine species, energy savings do not predict the occurrence of a gait transition. Instead, our findings suggest that animals trigger gait transitions to maintain high locomotor rhythmicity and reduce unstable states. Metabolic efficiency is an important benefit of gait transitions, but the reduction in dynamic instability may be the proximate trigger determining when those transitions occur.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Granatosky, MC; Bryce, CM; Hanna, J; Fitzsimons, A; Laird, MF; Stilson, K; Wall, CE; Ross, CF

Published Date

  • December 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 285 / 1893

Start / End Page

  • 20181766 -

PubMed ID

  • 30963900

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6304052

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2954

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-8452

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rspb.2018.1766


  • eng