Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What Quails can teach us about the gait of Dinosaurs

09.12.2014

Motion scientists and zoologists of Jena University (Germany) study out the gait of birds

Dinosaurs did it. Human beings and monkey do it. And even birds do it. They walk on two legs. And although humans occupy a special position amongst mammals as they have two legs, the upright gait is not reserved only for man. In the course of evolution many animals have developed the bipedal gait – the ability to walk on two legs.


The motion scientists from Jena University had quails walking through a high speed X-ray installation and measured the power at work in their legs.

Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU


Dr. Emanuel Andrada from the University in Jena (Germany) analyzed the effect of birds posture on the movement of their legs and on their stability when they walk.

Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

“Birds are moving forward on two legs as well, although they use a completely different technique from us humans,” Dr. Emanuel Andrada from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany) says. Human beings keep their upper bodies generally in an upright position and the body’s center of gravity is directly above the legs.

The bodies of birds on the other hand are horizontally forward-facing, which appears to be awkward at first glance. Hence the motion scientist analyzed – together with colleagues – which effect this posture has on the movement of their legs and on their stability when they walk. The first detailed analysis of its kind has now been published by the scientists in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1405).

To this end the team had quails walking through a high speed X-ray installation at varying speeds. While the installation monitored the movements of the animals meticulously, the scientists were able to measure the power at work in their legs. From this data, the Jena research team could develop a computer model of the whole motion sequence, which served to simulate and analyze the stability and the energy balance in connection to different gaits.

As it turned out, the birds use the so-called “grounded running” style when they move quickly – this is a running style in which at least one leg is always touching the ground. “Even when running quickly, short periods of flight phases occur only very rarely between the individual steps,” Prof. Dr. Reinhard Blickhan, Chair of Motion Science at Jena University explains. But this is extremely energy consuming for the animals because the body’s center of gravity lies distinctly in front of their legs – due to the horizontal posture. “The animals have to constantly balance out their own bodies in order to prevent falling forwards,” says Blickhan.

But this huge effort is worthwhile as the researchers discovered with the help of their computer model. “Unlike the legs of humans which gather energy like two coil springs and use it directly to move forwards, the bird’s legs work in addition like dampers or shock absorbers.” In order to prevent falling forwards or to permanently accelerate their movement, the birds practically have to brake all the time. This happens while the bird leg is working like a spring damper: Energy is hereby withdrawn from the leg, but the amount of energy is the same that was invested in the hip to stabilize the trunk via the turning moment. “This apparent wasting of energy is the price for a very stable posture during locomotion, especially on an uneven terrain,” Blickhan summarizes the result of this study.

After these newly presented results, the Jena researchers anticipate interesting times ahead. They also want to test the gait of other birds with the help of the computer model they developed. And the scientists even want to analyze the locomotion of dinosaurs – the direct forebears of today’s birds. “It is not clear yet how two-legged species like Allosaurus or Tyrannosaurus Rex really moved forward,” says Dr. Andrada. But it is assumed by now that they also ran with their upper bodies thrust forwards horizontally – due to biomechanical advantages.

Original-Publication:
Andrada E. et al.: Trunk orientation causes asymmetries in leg function in small bird terrestrial locomotion. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2014, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1405

Contact:
Dr. Emanuel Andrada
Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology with Phyletic Museum
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Erbertstraße 1, 07743 Jena
Germany
Phone: +0049 (0)3641 949174
Email: emanuel.andrada[at]uni-jena.de


Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: animals computer model gravity leg locomotion movement own bodies upright walk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>