Navigation Links
Groovy giraffes…distinct bone structures keep these animals upright
Date:7/3/2014

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College have identified a highly specialised ligament structure that is thought to prevent giraffes' legs from collapsing under the immense weight of these animals. "Giraffes are heavy animals (around 1000 kg), but have unusually skinny limb bones for an animal of this size" explained lead investigator Christ Basu, a PhD student in the Structure & Motion Lab. "This means their leg bones are under high levels of mechanical stress." In giraffes, the equivalents to our metatarsal bone (in the foot) and metacarpal bone (in the hand) are extremely elongated, accounting for roughly half the leg length. A distinct groove runs along the length of these bones, housing a structure called the suspensory ligament. This structure is found in other large animals, such as horses (which are well known for their ability to sleep whilst standing), but this is the first time that it has been studied in giraffes. The researchers hypothesised that this arrangement may help solve the mystery of how the giraffes' spindly legs can support its weight. To test this, the researchers received donations of limbs from EU zoos; these came from giraffes which had died naturally in captivity or been euthanized for reasons unrelated to this work. The limbs were then fixed in a rigid frame. Using a hydraulic press, the researchers applied forces of up to 2500 Newtons (about 250 kilograms), to simulate the bodyweight supported by each limb. It was found that the limbs remained upright and stable without any additional support and could even withstand greater loads. As the suspensory ligament is elastic tissue, and not muscle, it cannot generate force itself so can only offer passive support. This means that giraffes can support their weight without actively engaging as much muscle, thereby reducing fatigue. The suspensory ligament is also thought to prevent the foot joints from overextending and protect the feet from collapsing. Chris Basu hopes that this information will help to explain how giraffes evolved from small, antelope-like species to the iconic long-necked animals we know today. "I'd like to link modern giraffes with fossil specimens to illustrate the process of evolution" Mr Basu said. "We hypothesise that the suspensory ligament has allowed giraffes to reach large sizes that they otherwise would not have been able to achieve".


'/>"/>
Contact: Caroline Wood
cwood4@sheffield.ac.uk
44-7771-765335
Society for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Groovy turtles genes to aid in their rescue
2. Scientists find a groovy way to influence specialization of stem cells
3. Protein Data Bank: 100,000 structures
4. Nanostructures to facilitate the process to eliminate organic contaminants in water
5. How kids brain structures grow as memory develops
6. First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections
7. Researchers build 3-D structures to test breast cancer treatments
8. FASEB announces 2014 Science Research Conference: Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology
9. FASEB announces 2014 SRC: Protein Interactions, Structures, Technologies & Networks
10. Understanding secondary light emission by plasmonic nanostructures may improve medical imaging
11. Developing methods for building precise nanostructures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, has ... features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ® ... be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big Sight ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... identity management and secure authentication solutions, today announced ... contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) ... for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has ... onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, ... Research, London (ICR) and University of ... SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), ... nine . The University of Leeds ... funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh Biotechnology ... drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription ... is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and inhibit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: