Definition of cursorial in US English:



  • Having limbs adapted for running.

    • ‘By all three criteria, the skeleton of Caudipteryx falls into the domain of flightless birds rather than the space of cursorial dinosaurs.’
    • ‘Thus, species that are strong fliers with robust wing elements leave bone assemblages richer in forelimb elements than species that tend to be more cursorial.’
    • ‘A cursorial bipedal animal would have its arms free to do with them as it pleased while running, and its running speed would allow it to achieve the minimum speed necessary for liftoff.’
    • ‘These rabbit-sized animals were among the most cursorial animals of their time, and may have been capable of rabbit-like leaping.’
    • ‘They are highly adapted for cursorial life, their offspring are vulnerable to predation, and adequate den sites are limited.’
    • ‘Troodontids, judging from their cranial anatomy and cursorial adaptations, were likely agile, fast carnivores with acute senses.’
    • ‘Both species live in early successional habitats and are often the two most abundant cursorial spiders in agricultural systems of the eastern and central United States.’
    • ‘If we figure out that the probable ancestor of a flying group was a bipedal cursorial form, then flight likely evolved from the ground up.’
    • ‘For example, mass regulation may be important only to flying, climbing, and cursorial animals, while avoidance will not be an option for any sessile or dormant animal.’
    • ‘Ostrom introduced the cursorial predator hypothesis of the origin of avian flight.’
    • ‘It has a heavy skull and a massive neck, and it is also by far the shortest-legged and least cursorial canid.’
    • ‘However, the transition from cursorial to aerial locomotion and maneuvering was not as simple as growing large wings.’
    • ‘The Yixian dinosaurs were cursorial, bipedal, and not capable of flight.’
    • ‘Mammals inhabit diverse habitats, radiation of specialized groups such as bats, whales, cursorial mammals, hominoids.’
    • ‘Their decline accelerated during the Oligocene and coincided with the rise of another group of large herbivorous and cursorial mammals, the artiodactyls.’
    • ‘However, whether these elements belong to the wing or hindlimb can reflect the ecology of the living species, i.e., strong fliers versus cursorial or aquatic forms.’
    • ‘Theropod dinosaurs are seen to exhibit too many terrestrial and cursorial adaptations to be avian precursors.’
    • ‘Dromaeosaurs were all bipedal, fairly cursorial, and terrestrial.’
    • ‘However, during the Oligocene to late Miocene, a time period spanning approximately 20 Myr, the development of cursorial limbs in predators and in prey appears to have been decoupled.’
    • ‘The traditional cursorial predator hypothesis suggests that the ancestors of birds were active ground-dwelling animals that used their arms in predation.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin cursor (see cursor) + -ial.