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This is an article on gaits of all animals; for other meanings, see: gait (disambiguation).

Gait is the pattern of movement of the limbs of terrestrial animals, including humans, during locomotion. Most animals use a variety of gaits, selecting gait based on speed, terrain, the need to maneuver, and energetic efficiency. Different animal species may use different gaits due to differences in anatomy that prevent use of certain gaits, or simply due to evolved innate preferences as a result of habitat differences. While various gaits are given specific names, the complexity of biological systems and interacting with the environment make these distinctions 'fuzzy' at best. Gaits are typically classified according to footfall patterns, but recent studies often prefer definitions based on mechanics.

Due to the rapidity of animal movement, simple direct observation is rarely sufficient to give any insight into the pattern of limb movement. In spite of early attempts to classify gaits based on footprints or the sound of footfalls, it wasn't until Eadweard Muybridge and √Čtienne-Jules Marey began taking rapid series of photographs that proper scientific examination of gaits could begin.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gait" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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