The improved predator
In order to catch these grazers, predators need to improve their own running abilities. Instead of elongating limbs and running on their toes, they have increased their strides by making their spines extremely flexible. At full stretch, travelling at high speed, their hind and front legs overlap one another beneath the body. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has a thin elongated body and is said to be the fastest runner on earth, capable of speeds, in excess of 110 kph. But this method is very energy-consuming and great muscular strength is needed to keep the spine springing back and forth and the cheetah cannot maintain such speeds for more than a minute or so. Consequently this method of locomotion is fine for an attacking animal but would not be suitable for a fleeing animal.