Five-limbed brittle stars move bilaterally, like people.

Brittle starBrittle starBrittle stars and people have something in common: They move in fundamentally similar ways. Though not bilaterally symmetrical like humans and many other animals, brittle stars have come up with a mechanism to choose any of its five limbs to direct its movement on the seabed. It's as if each arm can be the creature's front, capable of locomotion and charting direction. Results appear in the Journal of Experimental Biology. (See more at Brown News and Events, May 10, 2012)


(Distributed May 17, 2012)

Frog's amazing leaps due to springy tendons

H. Astley. Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown UniversityH. Astley. Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University

The secret to frogs’ superlative jumping lies in their tendons. Researchers at Brown University, filming frogs jumping at 500 frames per second with special X-ray technology, show that the frog's tendon stretches as it readies its leap and then recoils, much like a spring, when the frog jumps. The finding could explain how other animals are exceptional leapers. Results appear in Biology Letters. (See more at Brown News and Events, November 15, 2011)


(Distributed March 22, 2012)

Shock therapy: Tendons absorb shock's muscles won't handle

Shock therapyShock therapyResearchers at Brown University have learned how muscles and tendons in the legs deal with sudden impacts. Experiments showed that tendons absorb the initial burst of energy from impact before the leg muscles react. The tendons act as shock absorbers, protecting the leg muscle from damage at the moment of impact. Results are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (See more at Brown News and Events September 28, 2011)



(Distributed March 22, 2012)

Calaveras jumping frog jubilee

PROVIDENCE -- Scientific sleuths from Brown University are in California trying to figure out what makes the great jumping frogs of Calaveras County jump so far. "They're spectacular," Manny Azizi, a postdoctoral fellow at Brown, said of the bullfrogs. The contest requires frogs to make three consecutive jumps. Then the total distance is measured. The record is 21 feet.

Mark Twain's famous and fictional tale of a frog-jumping contest started the whole thing. It has now been turned into a real-life, annual event at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels City, Calif. ( See more at Providence Journal, May 14, 2009 and July 14, 2010)


(Distributed March 22, 2012)
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