Mechanical model for theoretical determination of maximum running speed in mammals

J Theor Biol. 2003 May 7;222(1):117-25. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5193(03)00019-5.


A mechanical model for the determination of maximum speed in terrestrial tetrapods, designed for application to extinct species, is proposed. Only external bone measures and average body mass estimations are used as input data, and the hypothesis is made that leg bones are strong enough to endure the stress of running at maximum speed at a certain universal safety factor. The model is applied to a broad sample of living mammalian species to test its predictive power, and it is found to provide very good estimates of maximum running speed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biometry
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Hindlimb / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Species Specificity