Inefficient use of inverted pendulum mechanism during quadrupedal walking in the Japanese macaque
In animal walking, the gravitational potential and kinetic energy of the center of mass (COM) fluctuates out-of-phase to reduce the energetic cost of locomotion via an inverted pendulum mechanism, and, in canine quadrupedal walking, up to 70% of the mechanical energy can be recovered. However, the rate of energy recovery for quadrupedal walking in primates has been reported to be comparatively lower. The present study analyzed fluctuations in the potential and kinetic energy of the COM during quadrupedal walking in the Japanese macaque to clarify the mechanisms underlying this inefficient utilization of the inverted pendulum mechanism in primates. Monkeys walked on a wooden walkway at a self-selected speed, and ground reaction forces were measured, using a force platform, to calculate patterns of mechanical energy fluctuation and rates of energy recovery. Our results demonstrated that rates of energy recovery for quadrupedal walking in Japanese macaques were approximately 30–50%, much smaller than those reported for dogs. Comparisons of the patterns of mechanical energy fluctuation suggested that the potential and kinetic energies oscillated relatively more in-phase, and amplitudes did not attain near equality during quadrupedal walking in Japanese macaques, possibly because of greater weight support (reaction force) of the hindlimbs and more protracted forelimbs at touchdown in the Japanese macaque, two of the three commonly accepted locomotor characteristics distinguishing primates from non-primate mammals.