S5-5 Tue Jan 5 14:00 – 02:30 Cheetah tail behavior during pursuit Patel, A*; Jericevich, R; Knemeyer, A; Jusufi, A; University of Cape Town; University of Cape Town; University of Cape Town; Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems email@example.com http://www.mechatronics.uct.ac.za
Rapid maneuvers are critical for animal survival in predator-prey interactions and these behaviors are more likely to apply selective pressure on performance, stability and mechanical limits compared to the extensively studied steady-state motion. Maneuvers such as jumping (eg. lemurs, mantises and jumping spiders) or aerial righting (eg. lizards or bats) often introduce instability which need to be actively compensated for. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is not only the fastest terrestrial animal but also one of the most maneuverable. These rapid maneuvers are often accompanied by dramatic swinging of its lengthy tail. However, these tail motions are under-explored. Here, we present an overview of stabilization behaviors for animals maneuvering using wings, limbs, and tails. We show kinematic simulations comparing various stabilization strategies and propose a maneuver template. We also present whole-body kinematic data obtained from captive-bred cheetahs in South Africa during 94 enrichment exercises. We analyzed over 60 tail flicks measured rotations of over 800 deg/s which further imply its use as a stabilizing element.