Why did a lot of animals evolve to have skinny legs when they have a large heavy body?

Lions, Tigers, Buffalo, Cows etc

Why do these animals with very heavy body have skinny legs?

4 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Best Answer

    Lions and tigers are hunters, they need lots of muscles to kill prey. Muscles weigh more than fat. They also have a lot of speed. Their top speed is over 30 mph and they can reach a top speed of nearly 50 mph for short bursts. To run fast, they need powerful muscles to move those legs. If you look at the thighs of lions and tigers, you will find massive muscles. It is the same for cows, camels horses, and buffaloes. They can run fast and they have massive thigh muscles. Their lower legs are much less muscular and mostly just bones. The reason is that they do not need their lower leg muscles to run. By having mostly bony lower legs, the weight is reduced. Light weight lower legs take less energy to move and an animal can run faster by having skinny lower legs. In contrast the lower legs of elephants are massive, and elephants cannot run.

    We see similar designs in motor vehicles and in bicycles. Race cars and sports cars come with aluminum or magnesium alloy wheels because they are much lighter in weight than the steel wheels that come with cheaper vehicles like economy cars. The light wheels means that less horsepower is needed to move those wheels and they can spin faster with the same amount of force as steel wheels. Bicycles designed for road racing also have very light weight wheels. Engineers call the wheels of cars and bicycles "unsprung weight." Reducing unsprung weight is the key to a faster car or bicycle.

    The same principle applies to animal locomotion. The lighter the lower legs, the faster an animal can move them and the faster an animal can run. Of course the lower leg must still be strong enough to handle the load that the running or walking animal puts on it or it may break, so there is a limit to how skinny the legs can be.

  • 1 month ago

    It helped them move easier through thick underbrush.

  • 1 month ago

    Usually such animals are the faster and less weight and work with running.

    Some built for the sort of vegetation or terrain they live in, some built for speed, some built for sheer power

  • 1 month ago

    Less weight to carry around and the physics of leverage.

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