Salamanders and the tuatara, a lizard-like animal that has lived on Earth for 225 million years, were the first vertebrates to walk and run on land, according to a recent study by Ohio University researchers.
After studying the creatures at the Toledo Zoo, Stephen Reilly, associate professor of biological sciences, and doctoral student Eric McElroy determined that they use both forms of locomotion, which are energy-saving mechanisms generally believed to be important only in fast-running animals such as mammals and birds.
The research was published in the March 8 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Andrew Odum, curator of herpetology at the Toledo Zoo, and Valerie Hornyak, head herpetology keeper, were co-authors of the study.
Andrea Gibson | EurekAlert!
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