Kuiper gallops on the beach. All four legs are off the ground.

A Closer Look at the Gallop

Today’s action shots are brought to you by the gallop, the speediest of gaits! ?

Behold, photographic evidence of an airborne galloping animal! It may seem obvious to us today, but the question of whether animals ever take all four feet off the ground while galloping or trotting was hotly debated in the 1800s. A photographer named Eadweard Muybridge solved the mystery on June 15th, 1878.

The 8th governor of California, Leland Stanford (founder of the university) was super into horses. Like, SUPER into them. He owned over a thousand. In 1872, he hired Eadweard Muybridge to figure out how to take pictures of a horse at a trot. Muybridge’s work was briefly interrupted in 1874 when he went on trial for murder. ? He then spent a year wandering around Central America. ?

By 1877, Muybridge was back at work in CA. ☀️ He soon managed to use a single camera to get a photo of Stanford’s horse Occident in the air while trotting. Stanford decided they needed a cooler setup for the gallop. ? Muybridge rigged together 24 cameras on the track with thin silk tripwires set at horse chest height. This was kind of an insane project at the time, considering the camera shutter had barely been invented. Somehow, it worked.

Have you ever seen that famous old-timey animation of a horse running? That’s from this project! (Animation came later with Muybridge’s invention of the “zoopraxiscope.”) It’s arguably the first movie ever made.

When running flat out, cheetahs, wolves, and most dogs (not just sighthounds!) use a “double suspension” or “rotary” gallop, where they lift off the ground twice. The first looks like the first picture here, though at speed sighthounds pull their rear legs all the way in front in their front legs like a bunny.

The second suspension looks like a split second after my third picture, with rear and front legs stretched out (think of what a dog looks like going over a jump.)

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Be59H4Mgpjw/

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