Bigger animals need stiffer 'shoes'

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, February 25 (ANI): The bigger the animal, the stiffer are their "shoes" or those soft pads on the bottom of the foot, researchers have pointed out.

Experts in Taiwan and at Duke University discovered that the mechanical properties of the pads vary in predictable fashion as animals get larger.

Kai-Jung Chi, an assistant professor of physics at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, examined the footpads of carnivores, measuring the relative stiffness of the pads across species

Co-author V. Louise Roth, an associate professor of biology and evolutionary anthropology who was Chi's thesis adviser at Duke, said: "People hadn't looked at pads. They've been looking at the bones and muscles, but not that soft tissue."

Boffins found the area of the animals' metapodial-phalangeal pad, or m-p pad does not increase at the same rate as the body sizes unlike the stiffness of pads.

Roth explained: "It is as if the foot pads' stiffness is tuned to enhance how the animal moves and how strength is maintained in its bones."

The research has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society, Interface. (ANI)

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