Why Do Animals Outrun Robots?

Over decades of research and development, engineers have been working on designing and building robots that can walk and run as well as animals and have built many devices capable of independent movement. Max Donelan of Simon Fraser University, Canada and colleagues from various USA universities carried out an extensive study of running robots comparing […]

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Rosy-Faced Lovebird

Parrots Defy “Forbidden Phenotype”

Because no vertebrate has an odd number of limbs, having three limbs is considered a “forbidden phenotype”, i.e. a body structure that cannot happen.  However, some animals can use other body parts as well as their limbs to help them move around.  Researchers at noted that some parrots use their beaks to help them climb […]

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Fish Fins

Fish Fins Forming Limbs

Fish fins forming limbs found, according to articles in BBC Science Focus and ScienceDaily 4 February 2021 and Cell 4 February 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.01.003. Scientists at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital have found mutations of two genes that result in the formation of extra bones in the pectoral (front) fins of zebrafish.  Zebrafish are ray-finned […]

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Koals in Tree

Koalas Climb Like Apes

Koalas climb like apes, according to Inside JEB 17 December 2019 and Journal of Experimental Biology 17 December 2019 doi: 10.1242/jeb.207506.  The typical picture of a koala is one of a semi-comatose animal sitting passively in the fork of a tree.  This is understandable as koalas sleep for up to 18 hours a day.  However, […]

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Unique Mole Walking Is All Thumbs

Unique mole walking is all thumbs, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 29 October 2019 and Biology Letters 30 October 2019, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0503. Most four-legged land mammals walk with their limbs under their body, swinging their front legs back and forth below their shoulder joint.  A group of scientists have analysed high speed videos […]

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Sugar Glider

Jurassic Glider

Jurassic glider found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 9 August 2017. Scientists in China have found two fossils of gliding mammals, similar to living flying squirrels and gliding possums. Both fossils are exquisitely preserved showing the folds of skin between the body and limbs that could be extended for gliding flight. […]

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Hydraulic Control for Tuna Fins

Hydraulic control for tuna fins found, according to Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily, and Stanford News Service 20 July 2017, and Science vol. 357, pp. 310-314 doi: 10.1126/science.aak9607, 21 July 2017. Bluefin tuna are large, fast and very agile fish. According to Stanford News, “Tuna have numerous morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations to move rapidly through […]

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T rex Speed Limit

T. rex speed limit calculated by scientists, according to BBC News 18 July 2017, ABC News 19 July 2017 and PeerJ doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3420 published online 18 July 2017. A group of scientists in the UK has used a computer modelling technique to estimate how fast T-rex could have moved. Their method takes into account the strength […]

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Spring Powered Ostriches Beat Humans

Spring powered ostriches beat humans according to articles in ABC News in Science 27 October 2010 and BBC Earth News 28 October 2010. A team of researchers led by Jonas Rubenson, of the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia have compared how humans and ostriches run to see how much […]

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Snake Slithering Explained

Snake slithering explained in articles in ScienceNOW 8 June 2009 and BBC News 9 June 2009. Snakes can propel themselves forward by pushing against objects in their path such as rocks and twigs, but they can also move along smooth surfaces using a slithering movement, known scientifically as “lateral undulation” because it leaves an S-shaped […]

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