A new model based on ground-running birds could predict locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs based on their speed and body size, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Peter Bishop from the Queensland Museum, Australia and colleagues.
|Ground-running bird model may predict bipedal dinosaur locomotion |
[Credit: Peter Bishop, Queensland Museum]
The researchers found that many physical aspects of bird locomotion change continuously as speed increases. This supports previous evidence that unlike humans, who have distinct "walking" and "running" gaits, birds move in a continuum from "walking" to "running". The authors additionally observed consistent differences in gait and posture between small and large birds.
The researchers used their data to construct the biomechanically informative, regression-derived statistical (BIRDS) Model, which requires just two inputs - body mass and speed - to predict basic features of bird locomotion, including stride length and force exerted per step. The model performed well when tested against known data. While more data are needed to improve the model, and it is unclear if it can be extrapolated to animals of much larger body mass, the researchers hope that it might help predict features of non-avian dinosaur locomotion using data from fossils and footprints.
Source: Public Library of Science [February 21, 2018]