Try to think of the elephants that dance gracefully on the notes of the Disney cartoon "Fantasia": agility is certainly not the first characteristic we associate with pachyderms. Yet these animals can run, even if in slow motion …
Pachyderm marathon runners
The experiment is for scientists a further confirmation of the Pachyderms' ability to run and not just to walk as fast as they once believed. In the race of the elephants in fact, the so-called "aerial phase" is missing, in which all the animal's paws are suspended from the ground.
But if we consider, as happens today, the race a change of pace that requires effort (and more energy than that used in walking), in which, however, the air phase is not necessary - the elephants always have at least one leg anchored to the ground - then even elephants can run and do it their way. According to scientists it is possible that these animals also have other strange gaits that are completely unknown to us.
(News updated June 28, 2007)