An integral species in a large worldbuilding project I'm working on right now is based around the concept of extreme agility.
The species shall be a megafauna (Is that grammatically correct - "a megafauna"?), about as large as a human or larger. It lives in an extremely complex three-dimensional jungle where flora and terrain form all kinds of shapes and structures. Other than that, I haven't set anything in stone for the creature. It can be a predator, a herbivore, a scavenger. It can be quadrupedal, bipedal or both like a hadrosaur. Nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, it doesn't matter. All that does is that it is wired for agility.
This is just the basic premise - anatomy, physiology, ecology and ethology have not yet been worked out and will be based around that basic premise. In this question, I'm going to be focusing on the first criterion, anatomy.
So, this species must be able to do the following with ease and efficiency:
- Jump far and high
- Climb adeptly
- Sprint short distances
- Vault over obstacles
- Roll without hurting itself
- Run up near-vertical surfaces
- Pull itself onto a surface when hanging from the edge of it
Those are the basic requirements, but if you'd like further clarification I'll go into more detail here.
Jumping: The species must be able to jump far, ideally 5 times its length/height (Whichever way its body is oriented) or more. I would like it to jump high as well, 2-3 times higher than its length/height (See above for which one to use). But, more than that, it must be able to jump with precision at specifically tailored lengths. Also, it would be great if it could jump and land feet-first on a vertical surface, while catching the horizontal top with its hands/forefeet.
Climbing: By this, I mean both climbing in a complex environment, like a monkey,and ascending vertical surfaces. In the latter one, it would run at the vertical surface, jump at it, and push up with a foot to reach the top. It also should have "wrists" that can rotate between 0 and 180 degrees, and some form of gripping mechanism.
Running: It won't have to run any marathons, but I'd like it to be able to outrun most human athletes on flat ground, for distances between 100 and 500 metres.
Vaulting: Vaulting is slightly different to jumping in that the practitioner uses their hands (It might be forefeet in this animal's case), to push their body over an obstacle. It would probably need moderately powerful forelimbs to do this.
Swinging: The species needs to be able to hang from horizontal bar-like objects and move itself forward. It may need to do this to clear vast chasms if there is a convenient bar.
Rolling: I would like my creature to be able to quickly move from running to rolling under obstacles it couldn't pass under at full height. Also, it should be capable of using rolling movements to absorb shock after landing from a large jump.
Vertical running: I don't mean running up 90 degree surfaces, but rather something more like 60-80 degrees, although if you can make it even higher then I'd be delighted. I was thinking that the creature could use something similar to WAIR (Wing-Assisted Incline Running) to do this, but obviously the wings, or wing-like structures must not interfere with the species doing any of the other skills.
Pulling itself up: This one's a bit hard to understand in the concise bullet-point, so I'll explain more now. If the creature jumps onto a cliff-like structure (Vertical side, horizontal top) and catches the horizontal surface but has its legs hanging down from the size, it must use its forelimbs to pull itself up onto the flat top.
I know this has been a long question, but most of it is just elaboration, clarification and specification on the main list of points. I wouldn't call this a broad question, because the essential question is very simple; "What would a species that can do x, y and z look like?"
This may seem implausible or too superpower-y, but technically, humans can do all or most of these things. The only difference is that we can do it because we have the consciousness to develop physical and athletic ability for our entertainment (I doubt there were many Stone Age traceurs), but these animals are wired for it.
A final word: If it so happens that some other kind of motion would be better for moving in a complex environment, then I don't really care. The question is asking what is the best an animal could be at these skills, not whether or not these skills are the optimal way to move.