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. "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 online on November 5, 2014 by the scientists in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 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 the birds’ 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.
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