Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Panagiotopoulou, Olga, Pataky, Todd C., Day, Madeleine, Hensman, Michael C., Hensman, Sean, Hutchinson, John R. and Clemente, Christofer J. (2016) Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Royal Society Open Science, 3 10: 160203. doi:10.1098/rsos.160203

Author Panagiotopoulou, Olga
Pataky, Todd C.
Day, Madeleine
Hensman, Michael C.
Hensman, Sean
Hutchinson, John R.
Clemente, Christofer J.
Title Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)
Formatted title
Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)
Journal name Royal Society Open Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2054-5703
Publication date 2016-10-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rsos.160203
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 3
Issue 10
Start page 160203
Total pages 13
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1000 General
Abstract Elephants, the largest living land mammals, have evolved a specialized foot morphology to help reduce locomotor pressures while supporting their large body mass. Peak pressures that could cause tissue damage are mitigated passively by the anatomy of elephants' feet, yet this mechanism does not seem to work well for some captive animals. This study tests how foot pressures vary among African and Asian elephants from habitats where natural substrates predominate but where foot care protocols differ. Variations in pressure patterns might be related to differences in husbandry, including but not limited to trimming and the substrates that elephants typically stand and move on. Both species' samples exhibited the highest concentration of peak pressures on the lateral digits of their feet (which tend to develop more disease in elephants) and lower pressures around the heel. The trajectories of the foot's centre of pressure were also similar, confirming that when walking at similar speeds, both species load their feet laterally at impact and then shift their weight medially throughout the step until toe-off. Overall, we found evidence of variations in foot pressure patterns that might be attributable to husbandry and other causes, deserving further examination using broader, more comparable samples.
Keyword Biomechanics
Centre of pressure
Elephant feet
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Created: Thu, 06 Oct 2016, 05:50:57 EST by Olga Panagiotopoulou on behalf of School of Biomedical Sciences