Elastic mechanisms in primate locomotion

Z Morphol Anthropol. 1991;78(3):315-20.


Tendons that stretch elastically and recoil, as the forces on them rise and fall, can save energy in running by enabling the animal to make do with shorter or slower muscle fascicles, that can generate force more economically. Non-human primates have rather long fascicles and thick tendons in their distal leg muscles and so seem poorly adapted to save energy in this way. Additional savings are made possible by the elastic compliance of ligaments in the foot. Though tendon and ligament compliance tend to save energy, the compliance of branches tends to increase the energy cost of arboreal locomotion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elastic Tissue / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Ligaments / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Primates / physiology*
  • Tendons / physiology*