Chickens: Now with Artificial Dinosaur Tails

By Ben • clever, science • 7 Feb 2014

It's research like this that makes me love science. I mean seriously. They raised chickens with artificial tails to learn more about dinosaur locomotion.

Chickens. Now with artificial dinosaur tails.

Chickens. Now with artificial dinosaur tails.

From the abstract (the full article is available online):

"Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. [...]

Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion."

I know what you're thinking. "I wish they had a video of those chickens. That'd be great!" Well, my friend, enjoy all the benefits of open access articles from PLOS ONE:

Science!!!

Source:

Grossi B, Iriarte-Díaz J, Larach O, Canals M, Vásquez RA (2014) Walking Like Dinosaurs: Chickens with Artificial Tails Provide Clues about Non-Avian Theropod Locomotion. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88458. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088458

via: An ex-student on Facebook.

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