(Redirected from Quadrupedal)

Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod animal uses all four limbs (legs) to bear weight, walk, and run. An animal or machine that usually maintains a four-legged posture and moves using all four limbs is said to be a quadruped (from Latin quattuor for "four", and pes, pedis for "foot"). Most quadrupeds are terrestrial vertebrates, including mammals and reptiles, though some are largely aquatic such as turtles, amphibians, and pinnipeds.

The zebra is a quadruped.

Bipedal tetrapods such as some birds (such as the shoebill) sometimes use their wings to right themselves after lunging at prey.[1]

Quadrupeds vs. tetrapodsEdit

Although the words "quadruped" and "tetrapod" are both derived from terms meaning "four-footed", they have distinct meanings. A tetrapod is any member of the taxonomic unit Tetrapoda (which is defined by descent from a specific four-limbed ancestor), whereas a quadruped actually uses four limbs for locomotion. Not all tetrapods are quadrupeds and not all quadrupeds are tetrapods (this meaning including artificial objects; all quadruped organisms are tetrapods).

The distinction between quadrupeds and tetrapods is important in evolutionary biology, particularly in the context of tetrapods whose limbs have adapted to other roles (e.g., hands in the case of humans, wings in the case of birds, and fins in the case of whales). All of these animals are tetrapods, but none is a quadruped. Even snakes, whose limbs have become vestigial or lost entirely, are nevertheless tetrapods.

Even though with 6 limbs, mantises mainly move their body with the middle and hind pairs of limbs.

In humansEdit

Quadrupedalism in a Turkish family

In July 2005, in rural Turkey, scientists discovered five Turkish siblings who had learned to walk naturally on their hands and feet. Unlike chimpanzees, which ambulate on their knuckles, the Ulas Family walked on their palms, allowing them to preserve the dexterity of their fingers.[2][3][4]

Many people, especially practitioners of parkour and freerunning and Georges Hébert's natural method,[5] find benefit in quadrupedal movements to build full body strength. Kenichi Ito is a Japanese man famous for speed running on four limbs.[6] Quadrupedalism is sometimes referred to as being on all fours, and is observed in crawling, especially by infants.[7]

Quadrupedal robotsEdit

BigDog is a dynamically stable quadruped robot created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics with Foster-Miller, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station.[8]

Also by NASA JPL, in collaboration with University of California, Santa Barbara Robotics Lab, is RoboSimian, with emphasis on stability and deliberation. It has been demonstrated at the DARPA Robotics Challenge.[9]

Pronograde postureEdit

A related concept to quadrupedalism is pronogrady, or having a horizontal posture of the trunk. Although nearly all quadrupedal animals are pronograde, bipedal animals also have that posture, including many living birds and extinct dinosaurs.[10]

Nonhuman apes with orthograde (vertical) backs may walk quadrupedally in what is called knuckle-walking.[11]


  1. ^ Naish, Darren (2008-12-03). "B. rex! – Tetrapod Zoology". Scienceblogs.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  2. ^ "Family Walks on All Fours, May Offer Evolution Insight, Experts Say". National Geographic. 8 March 2006. Archived from the original on 24 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Science May Finally Explain Why This Family Walks On All Fours". Huffingtonposts. 17 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016.
  4. ^ Türkmen S, Demirhan O, Hoffmann K, et al. (May 2006). "Cerebellar hypoplasia and quadrupedal locomotion in humans as a recessive trait mapping to chromosome 17p". J. Med. Genet. 43 (5): 461–4. doi:10.1136/jmg.2005.040030. PMC 2564522. PMID 16371500.
  5. ^ "MovNa t". Archived from the original on 2007-10-26.
  6. ^ Swatman, Rachel (12 November 2015). "Video: Watch Japan's Kenichi Ito scamper to GWR Day success with fastest 100 m running on all fours". Guinness World Records. Tokyo. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015.
  7. ^ Mondschein, Emily R., Karen E. Adolph, and Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda. "Gender bias in mothers' expectations about infant crawling." Journal of experimental child psychology 77.4 (2000): 304-316.
  8. ^ "BigDog - The Most Advanced Rough-Terrain Robot on Earth". Boston Dynamics. Archived from the original on 2011-04-23. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
  9. ^ "DARPA Robotics Challenge, RoboSimian (Track A)". JPL Robotics. Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  10. ^ Andrada, Emanuel; Rode, Christian; Sutedja, Yefta; Nyakatura, John A.; Blickhan, Reinhard (2014-12-22). "Trunk orientation causes asymmetries in leg function in small bird terrestrial locomotion". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 281 (1797): 20141405. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1405. PMC 4240980. PMID 25377449.
  11. ^ Gebo, Daniel L. (2013). "Primate Locomotion". Nature Education Knowledge. 4 (8): 1.

External linksEdit