May 31, 2014

Biomechanics and control of landing in toads

Integrative and Comparative Biology
Gary B GillisEmanuel Azizi


Anything that jumps must land, but unlike during jumping when muscles produce energy to accelerate the body into the air, controlled landing requires muscles to dissipate energy and decelerate the body. Among anurans, toads (genus Bufo) exhibit highly coordinated landing behaviors, using their forelimbs to stabilize the body after touch-down as they lower their hindlimbs to the ground. Moreover, toads land frequently, as they cover distances by stringing together long series of relatively short hops. We have been using toads as a model to understand the biomechanics and motor control strategies of coordinated landing. Our results show that toads prepare for landing differently depending on how far they hop. For example, the forelimbs are extended farther prior to impact after long hops than after short ones. Such kinematic alterations are mirrored by predictable modulation of the recruitment intensity of forelimb muscles before impact, such that longer hops lead to higher levels of pre-landing recruitment of muscles. These differences in kinematics and muscular activity help to control the most flexed configuration of the elbow that is achieved after impact, which in turn constrains the extent to which muscles involved in dissi...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Elbow Joint Structure
Entire Elbow Region
Muscle Function
Hops extract
ALPL wt Allele
Infantile Hypophosphatasia

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