, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

Inefficient use of inverted pendulum mechanism during quadrupedal walking in the Japanese macaque

  • Naomichi Ogihara
  • Haruyuki Makishima
  • Eishi Hirasaki
  • Masato Nakatsukasa
Original Article


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.


Locomotion Mechanical energy Ground reaction force Macaca fuscata 



We wish to express our gratitude to the staff at Suo Monkey Performance Association for their generous collaboration in the experiments. We are also grateful to Sugio Hayama, Hidemi Ishida, Kazumichi Katayama, and Nobutoshi Yamazaki for their continuous guidance and support throughout the course of the present study. We are also grateful to anonymous reviewers for their constructive and thoughtful comments. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas “Emergence of Adaptive Motor Function through Interaction between Body, Brain and Environment” from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naomichi Ogihara
    • 1
  • Haruyuki Makishima
    • 2
  • Eishi Hirasaki
    • 3
  • Masato Nakatsukasa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Science and TechnologyKeio UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan

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