Despite the fact that we see dogs walking around every day, most of us, including many experts in natural history museums and illustrators for veterinary anatomy textbooks, apparently still don't know how they do it.
That's despite the fact that their correct walking behavior was described and published more than 120 years ago.
"Our key finding is that the chance to find erroneous depictions of quadruped walking in our surrounding environment is about 50 percent, which corresponds to nothing else than pure accident," said Gabor Horvath of Eotvos University.
"This was quite unexpected because the experts of animal locomotion have known well the characteristics of quadruped walking ever since the famous and pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge, published in the 1880s," he added.
As to how do they walk, it turns out that all four-legged animals step with their left hind leg followed by their left foreleg. Then, they step with their right hind leg followed by the right foreleg, and so on.
Animals differ from one another only in the timing of that stepping.
According to Horvath, the reason that manner of walking is so universal, is that it provides the maximum static stability. In other words, when walking slowly, a horse's or dog's body is supported at all times by three feet on the ground, which form a triangle.
The closer their center of mass is to the center of those three points, the more stable they will be.
Horvath and his colleagues suspect this is so often depicted incorrectly in part due to carelessness. Others probably don't know how the four-legged creatures among us walk, and some likely copy previous illustrations or models, which themselves are wrong.&13;&13;