How about when they drive?
If you believe the arms of an animal are part of the creature, then why do they move as they are put together in that animal? A new study in Science shows why it’s important to start looking at how our arms function in other animals.
In nature, most animals’ limbs can fold up into a ball, as in penguins, whales and seals. However, as the researchers themselves point out, that doesn’t usually explain why an animal walks on two legs, but this is the first time the arms have been investigated.
The researchers found the arms of the mouse are folded up so it can run on two legs – but when they tried to move their arms they couldn’t quite get themselves moving. Then they changed to something much more complex, where a small plastic ball attached to a wire is stretched between each individual arm. When the mice were placed under a microscope the arms moved by themselves. It’s the first time that we can see why humans walk on two legs.
There are lots of good science questions that could be answered by this study. Why do humans often use our hands while we’re walking? Do we have something similar? And if so, why do humans walk with a certain type of foot – forefoot or heel or toe?
All these questions and more will be answered by the next article in the series: ‘We’ve spent a lot of time wondering about our limbs, but it might be time to look at them in other animals too.’
Image courtesy of C. E. Mowry
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