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:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 ... just announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication ... exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These ... smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group and ... finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017 The global military biometrics ... marked by the presence of several large global players. ... five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS ... nearly 61% of the global military biometric market in ... global military biometrics market boast global presence, which has ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, ... ... the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com ... http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... AESKU.GROUP, an ... Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product portfolio to include allergy ... fever, urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food allergy. Allergies are escalating to ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... , ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... announced the release of Limfinity® version 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® ... to gain a larger and more diverse base of customers among labs and ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... 2017  Kibow Biotech Inc., a pioneer in developing ... of a new patent covering a unique method for ... Patent and Trademark Office on May 23 rd ... of Bio award in 2014 in San ... approaches to chronic disease. Renadyl™, the first and only ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... EDETEK, Inc., a clinical ... it is launching two new additions of its award-winning cloud-based platform CONFORM™: Information ... the DIA 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, June 19-22, 2017. , “Modern ...
Breaking Biology Technology: