Quadrupedal gait and tracking under slow, fast and dynamic conditions

James Usherwood (primary)
Thilo Pfau (secondary)


Much has been learned of both animal mechanics and pathology by studying gait with lab- and clinic-based measurements. Such studies tend to be restricted to linear, steady-speed or brief actions that may contrast with those of relevance to the daily life of the animal. Technological advances – of GPS, IMU, video and computational methods – are beginning to allow study of animal gait under field conditions with self-selected locomotor strategies. This project will exploit these technologies to study two related, but distinct, fields: gait selection in relation to reductionist biomechanical principles; and gait features in relation to physiology and pathology.


Usherwood, J.R. and Wilson, A.M. (2005). No force limit on greyhound sprint speed. Nature 438, 753-754. doi: 10.1038/438753a

Usherwood, J.R. and Smith, B.J.H. (2018). The grazing gait, and implication of toppling table geometry for primate footfall sequences. Biology Letters 14, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0137

Usherwood, J.R., Stavrou, M., Lowe, J.C., Roskilly, K. and Wilson, A.M. (2011). Flying in a flock comes at a cost in pigeons. Nature 474, 494-497. doi: 10.13038/nature10164.

Pfau, T. and Weller, R. (2017) Comparison of a standalone consumer grade smartphone to a specialist inertial measurement unit for quantification of movement symmetry in the trotting horse. Equine Vet. J. 49, 124–129.

Maisonpierre, I., Sutton, M., Menzies-Gow, N., Harris, P., Weller, R., Pfau, T. (2019) Activity Tracking in Horses and the Effect of Pasture Management on Time Budget. Equine Veterinary Journal, https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.13130

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
EngineeringImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsSimulation / Modelling