Qualitative Comparison between Rats and Humans in Quadrupedal and Bipedal Locomotion


Bipedal (Bp) locomotion is one of the most characteristic motor behaviors in human beings. Innate quadrupedal (Qp) four-legged animals also often walk bipedally. The walking posture, however, is significantly different between the two. This suggests that although both have a potential to walk bipedally, however, the human has a body scheme suitable for Bp locomotion, probably its skeletal system. The skeletal system includes the lumbar lordosis, sacral kyphosis, a round pelvis, a large femur neck angle, short feet, and so on. To verify this hypothesis, we compared kinematic and EMG activities between rats and humans during Qp and Bp locomotion on a treadmill belt. The rat is a representative Qp animal, but it is able to acquire Bp walking capability with motor learning. Although the mobile ranges of the hindlimb joint are different during each locomotor pattern between rats and humans, both showed replicable flexion and extension excursion patterns for each joint depending on the locomotor phase. There are many phase-locked EMG bursts between rats and humans during the same walking task and these are observed in the proximal rather than the distal muscles. This suggests that both rats and humans utilize similar neuronal systems for the elaboration of Qp and Bp locomotion. It was interesting that both subjects showed more muscle activities during non-natural locomotor patterns; Qp < Bp for rats and Bp < Qp for humans. This indicates that rat Bp and human Qp walking need more effort and we may be able to find its reason in their skeletal system.

Share and Cite:

T. Hosoido, F. Mori, K. Kiyoto, T. Takagi, Y. Sano, M. Goto, K. Nakajima and N. Wada, "Qualitative Comparison between Rats and Humans in Quadrupedal and Bipedal Locomotion," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2013, pp. 137-149. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.31013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. T. Robinson, “Early Hominid Posture and Locomotion,” University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1973.
[2] D. Schmitt, “Insights into the Evolution of Human Bipedalism from Experimental Studies of Humans and Other Primates,” Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 206, No. 9, 2003, pp. 1437-1448. doi:10.1242/jeb.00279
[3] D. C. Dunbar, F. B. Horak, J. M. Macpherson, D. S. Rushmer, “Neural Control of Quadrupedal and Bipedal Stance: Implications for the Evolution of Erect Posture,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 69, No. 1, 1986, pp. 93-105. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330690111
[4] J. T. Stern Jr. and R. L. Susman, “The Locomotor Anatomy of Australopithecus Afarensis,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 60, No. 3, 1983, pp. 279-317. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330600302
[5] N. Wada, Y. Toba, W. Iwamoto, M. Goto, H. Miyata, F. Mori and F. Morita, “Investigation and Characterization of Rat Bipedal Walking Models Established by a Training Program,” Brain Research, Vol. 1243, 2008, pp. 70-77. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.09.034
[6] T. Hosoido, M. Goto, Y. Sano, F. Mori, K. Nakajima, F. Morita and N. Wada, “Hoffman Reflex in a Rat Bipedal Walking Model,” Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 505, No. 3, 2011, pp. 263-267. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2011.10.035
[7] K. K. Whitcome, L. J. Shapiro and D. E. Lieberman, “Fetal Load and the Evolution of Lumbar Lordosis in Bipedal Hominins,” Nature, Vol. 450, No. 7172, 2007, pp. 1075-1078. doi:10.1038/nature06342
[8] E. Hirasaki, N. Ogihara, Y. Hamada, H. Kumakura and M. Nakatsukasa, “Do Highly Trained Monkeys Walk Like Humans? A Kinematic Study of Bipedal Locomotion in Bipedally Trained Japanese Macaques,” Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 46, No. 6, 2004, pp. 739-750. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.04.004
[9] F. Mori, K. Nakajima, A. Tachibana, C. Takasu, M. Mori, T. Tsujimoto, H. Tsukada and S. Mori, “Reactive and Anticipatory Control of Posture and Bipedal Locomotion in a Nonhuman Primate,” Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 143, 2004, pp. 191-198. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(03)43019-7
[10] A. Tachibana, F. Mori, C. A. Boliek, K. Nakajima, C. Takasu and S. Mori, “Acquisition of Operant-Trained Bipedal Locomotion in Juvenile Japanese Monkeys (Macaca Fuscata): A Longitudinal Study,” Motor Control, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2003, pp. 388-410.
[11] S. Hayama, M. Nakatsukasa and Y. Kunimatsu, “Monkey Performance: The Development of Bipedalism in Trained Japanese Monkeys,” Acta Anatomica Nipponica, Vol. 67, No. 3, 1992, pp. 169-185.
[12] H. Preuschoft, S. Hayama and M. M. Günther, “Curvature of the Lumbar Spine as a Consequence of Mechanical Necessities in Japanese Macaques Trained for Bipedalism,” Folia Primatologica (Basel), Vol. 50, No. 1-2, 1988, pp. 42-58. doi:10.1159/000156333
[13] M. D. Sockol, D. A. Raichlen and H. Pontzer, “Chimpanzee Locomotor Energetics and the Origin of Human Bipedalism,” Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of United States of America, Vol. 104, No. 30, 2007, pp. 12265-12269. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703267104
[14] M. W. Grabowski, J. D. Polk and C. C. Roseman, “Divergent Patterns of Integration and Reduced Constraint in the Human Hip and the Origins of Bipedalism,” Evolution, Vol. 65, No. 5, 2011, pp. 1336-1356. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01226.x
[15] M. Hildebrand, “Symmetrical Gaits of Primates,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 26, No. 2, 1967, pp. 119-130. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330260203
[16] M. J. MacLellan, Y. P. Ivanenko, G. Cappellini, F. S. Labini and F. Lacquaniti, “Features of Hand-Foot Crawling Behavior in Human Adults,” Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 107, No. 1, 2012, pp. 114-125. doi:10.1152/jn.00693.2011
[17] W. A. Sparrow, “Creeping Patterns of Human Adults and Infants,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 78, No. 3, 1989, pp. 387-401. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330780307
[18] N. Dominici, Y. P. Ivanenko, G. Cappellini, A. d’Avella, V. Mondi, M. Cicchese, A. Fabiano, T. Silei, A. Di Paolo, C. Giannini, R. E. Roppele and F. Lacquaniti, “Locomotor Primitives in Newborn Babies and Their Development,” Science, Vol. 334, No. 6058, 2011, pp. 997-999. doi:10.1126/science.1210617
[19] M. Nakatsukasa, N. Ogihara, Y. Hamada, Y. Goto, M. Yamada, T. Hirakawa and E. Hirasaki, “Energetic Costs of Bipedal and Quadrupedal Walking in Japanese Macaques,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 124, No. 3, 2004, pp. 248-256. doi:10.1002/ajpa.10352
[20] M. Nakatsukasa, E. Hirasaki and N. Ogihara, “Energy Expenditure of Bipedal Walking Is Higher than That of Quadrupedal Walking in Japanese Macaques,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 131, No. 1, 2006, pp. 33-37. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20403
[21] K. Steudel, “The Work and Energetic Cost of Locomotion. I. The Effects of Limb Mass Distribution in Quadrupeds,” Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 154, No. 1, 1990, pp. 273-285.
[22] T. S. Carey and R. H. Crompton, “The Metabolic Costs of ‘Bent-Hip, Bent-Knee’ Walking in Humans,” Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2005, pp. 25-44. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.10.001
[23] R. H. Crompton, L. Yu, W. Weijie, M. Günther and R. Savage, “The Mechanical Effectiveness of Erect and ‘Bent-Hip, Bent-Knee’ Bipedal Walking in Australopithecus Afarensis,” Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 35, No. 1, 1998, pp. 55-74. doi:10.1006/jhev.1998.0222

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.