Size-Related Changes in Foot Impact Mechanics in Hoofed Mammals

Sharon Elaine Warner, Phillip Pickering, Olga Panagiotopoulou, Thilo Pfau, Lei Ren, John Richard Hutchinson

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Foot-ground impact is mechanically challenging for all animals, but how do large animals mitigate increased mass during foot impact? We hypothesized that impact force amplitude scales according to isometry in animals of increasing size through allometric scaling of related impact parameters. To test this, we measured limb kinetics and kinematics in 11 species of hoofed mammals ranging from 18-3157 kg body mass. We found impact force amplitude to be maintained proportional to size in hoofed mammals, but that other features of foot impact exhibit differential scaling patterns depending on the limb; forelimb parameters typically exhibit higher intercepts with lower scaling exponents than hind limb parameters. Our explorations of the size-related consequences of foot impact advance understanding of how body size influences limb morphology and function, foot design and locomotor behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere54784
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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