HOW DO OSTRICHES RUN SO FAST?
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE NEW 'GARDEN OF EADEN' WEBSITE AND SEED SHOP
Led by Professor Jonas Rubenson, scientists from the University of Western Australia's School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health have discovered how ostriches manage to run so fast and, perhaps more importantly, so efficiently.
Ostriches use half the energy that humans need in order to run at top speed, say the researchers, who have made the discovery by comparing humans and ostriches in a running test. The secret is their springiness as it has been discovered that ostrich tendons store twice as much ‘elastic energy’ per step than humans.
Five tame ostriches were involved in the study; the scientists measured the movement of their limbs and joints and the force with which the birds' feet hit the ground.
The ostriches were fitted with reflective markers on their joints to allow their movement to be captured in detail as they ran on a purpose-built 50m running track. To make a comparison, five human volunteers were studied in exactly the same way - with several cameras capturing them from different angles.
Professor Rubenson said the findings could provide insight for biologists looking at the evolution of bipedalism, both in humans and in dinosaurs. They could also reveal some of the biological secrets of agility, which should ultimately inform the development of prosthetic limbs and even robots.
Because ostriches are of similar mass to humans, it allowed the team to draw comparisons between the ostrich and the human gait. The research team was surprised to find that ostriches and humans used nearly exactly the same amount of mechanical work to "swing" their limbs back and forth when running.
‘..the difference lies in the elasticity of their joints..’ Professor Rubenson explained. ‘…ostriches generate over twice as much power from recoil of elastic energy stored in tendons than humans, which means they need less muscle power to run at the same speed. Moving with elastic limbs is akin to bouncing on a 'pogo stick', where you don't have to work very hard to bounce along - so it's all in the spring of their step...’
For related articles click onto:
Can Flying Fish really Fly?
Cheetah Facts, Videos and Photographs
Discovered - Frog Unique to Science
Discovered - Giant Monitor Lizard
Discovered - Moth New to Science Found in UK
Discovered - New Species of Giant Carnivorous Plant
Discovered - New Species of UK Bat
Discovered - the Language of Hyenas
Feeding Wild Finches
How Big is the Blue Whale?
How do Elephants Communicate and Talk to Each Other?
How do Lizards Run on Water?
How fast is a Cheetah
How Fast is a Snail?
How Long can a Flying Fish Fly for?
LIVING DINOSAURS - The Coelacanth
Jellyfish Swarms - The Latest Man-Made disaster?
Light Pollution and the Decline in Bat Populations
Light Pollution and the Decline of Native Insects
Light Pollution - The Hidden Threat
Lost Frog Returned from Extinction
Non- Native Invasive Species - The Chinese Mitten Crab
Non-Native Invasive Species - The Japanese Knotweed
Non-Native Invasive Species - The Harlequin Ladybird
Non-Native Invasive Species - The American Signal Crayfish
Non-Native Invasive Species - The Ring-Necked Parakeet
The Coelacanth - a living, breathing fossil
The Decline of Butterfly and Caterpillar Habitat
The Decline of Insect Eating Birds
The Eagle Owl
The Eagle Owl - Friend or Foe?
The Peregrine Falcon
What can we do to Help Save the Rainforests
What do Pandas Eat?
What is the Difference between African and Indian Elephants?
What is the Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles?
What is the Worlds Fastest Fish?
What is the Worlds Largest Eagle?
What is the World's Largest Spider?
What is the World's most Poisonous Snake?
What is the Most Poisonous Spider?
Where do Pandas Live?
Why Shark Fin Soup is Devastating World Shark Populations
Why Should we Protect the Rainforest?