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Friday, December 30, 2016

Step Vs. Stride Length

One of the most overlooked points made by newer researchers, and quite a few older researchers, is the step length and the stride length measurements when multiple tracks are encountered.  The excitement of finding multiple tracks sometimes makes us as researchers to forget the important things.  So let's look at how you measure each one.

In the photo below, you see that the step length is measured from the toe of the rear track to the front toes of the forward track.  This is the distance traveled forward by a single leg.  For humans, this is usually around 2.2 feet for women, and 2.5 feet for men.  Except in the case of smaller juvenile Bigfoot, the average that I have encountered for Bigfoot has been 3.5 feet to 5 feet on the step length, depending upon the height of the Bigfoot creating it.

Stride length is the distance between two successive placements of the same foot.  It consists of two step lengths, left and right, each of which is the distance by which the named foot moved forward in front of the other one.  You can see how it is measured in the photo below, by measuring from toes of the rear footprint, to the heel of the forward footprint.

To measure the step length with multiple tracks, you need to count the number of tracks within your trackway, in this case in the photo below, we have ten tracks.  Measuring from the heel of the first track, to the toes of the 10th track, we have come up with 540".

As shown in the above photo, you divide 540 by the number of tracks, which is 10 and you end up with 54, meaning that the average step length for this Bigfoot would be 54 inches. 

To measure average stride length for multiple tracks, you would select at least 4 or more tracks of the same foot to measure.  In our example photo below, we used 4 tracks in a trackway, and total distance from the toes of the rear left foot, to the toes of the front left foot.  This gave us a total distance of 324" which we divide by 4 (which is the number of tracks being used) and we get 81" as an averaged stride length. 

When photographing a trackway, it's always recommended to use markers to show where each footprint is located at.  The MABRC Researchers use small marker flags like shown here.

Most large hardware stores carry this little flags including Lowe's in packages of 25 and in different colors.  It allows you to also maintain where all the tracks are so someone doesn't tromp on any of the tracks because they are clearly identifiable.  As you can see below, it makes the trackway easier to see in photographs whether in short vegetation or tall vegetation.  

When you are investigating tracks and trackways, while the excitement may be there that you found these tracks, it's always best to document the stride and step length in your data.

1 comment:

  1. Cool this really helps. I'm going to measure on film, any suggestions on prints in the snow? There's a guy who filmed some tracks and his prints by them I approximate his steps at the length of the strip of four right feet at 25; 13" boot prints, 325.4 divided by four = 81.35 do you think that sounds right?