African elephants walk on their tippy-toes

Elephants don’t wear high heels, but they certainly walk like they do.

Foot problems plague pachyderm conservation efforts. But it’s not clear if being in captivity causes changes in walking gait that drive these foot problems or whether the environment messes with their natural walking style.

Testing walking in wild elephants is challenging, so evolutionary morphologist Olga Panagiotopoulou of the University of Queensland and her colleagues opted for the closest thing. Researchers trained five African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a park in South Africa to walk over pressure-sensing platforms to map the distribution of weight on their feet. The team compared their data tosimilar tests of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoo in England.

Regardless of species or setting, a trend emerged: Elephants put the most pressure on the outside toes of their front feet and the least pressure on their heels, scientists report October 5 in Royal Society Open Science. Thus, elephants naturally walk on their tiptoes, and harder surfaces of captive environments must cramp their walking style. As a potential monitoring system, the pressure plates used in the study could aid conservationists and elephant podiatrists.

Related Posts
Zimbabwean Scientists Unveil Maize Seeds Resistant to Heat, Drought
HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Scientists in Zimbabwe say they have developed new heat- and drought-tolerant varieties of maize that may be ready for sale ahead of the next planting season. The seeds from ...
READ MORE
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PHILIPPE SIUBERSKI
Cave specialist Christian Casseyas shows the latest area to have been searched by archeologists as he gives a tour of the Goyet cave, where 96 bones and three teeth from five Neanderthal individuals were found, in Goyet, Belgium, on December 19, 2016.
Deep in the caves of Goyet, in present-day Belgium, researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on each other. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
GOYET, Belgium- Deep in the caves of Goyet in Belgium researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on ...
READ MORE
A view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016.   ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters
Scientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if ...
READ MORE
Clitoris vs vagina: When studying the female orgasm, the whole is more than the sum of its parts
The female orgasm can't be understood by focusing on a single part of the body, says research. In an attempt to move the debate over the female orgasm on from 'clitoris ...
READ MORE
Obama promises to send people to Mars by 2030
US President Barack Obama has vowed to send people to Mars by the 2030s. The outgoing president has said that he will spend his time working with private companies to ...
READ MORE
Enduring mystery of Africa’s fairy circles finally solved
The longstanding mystery of the Namibia's fairy circles appears to have finally been solved. The huge spherical patches of arid grass found in the Namib Desert have long baffled researchers, ...
READ MORE
Alcohol dependence tied to lack of key enzyme, reducing stigma for patients with addiction
People suffering from alcoholism may have lost the impulse control due to absence of an enzyme in the brain. By Léa Surugue The lack of a key enzyme may be tied to ...
READ MORE
Rare “ring of fire” eclipse passes over Zimbabwe
An annular eclipse that hit Southern Africa was visible in Zimbabwe on Thursday morning as the moon passed in front of the sun, creating a brilliant ring of sunlight that ...
READ MORE
Are aliens trying to tell us something? Brightest burst of radio waves detected
The search for mysterious "fast radio bursts" – very brief but intense pulses of radio waves from outer space – is heating up. Nobody knows what causes these powerful bursts, ...
READ MORE
Mexico’s Colima volcano erupts, forcing nearby communities to flee
Mexico's Colima volcano erupted on Friday (30 September), spewing ash and smoke into the surrounding sky and causing the emergency evacuation of two neighbouring villages. National emergency services chief Luis Felipe ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwean Scientists Unveil Maize Seeds Resistant to Heat,
Cave finds prove Neanderthals were cannibals
Scientists find Earth-like planet circling sun’s nearest neighbor
Clitoris vs vagina: When studying the female orgasm,
Obama promises to send people to Mars by
Enduring mystery of Africa’s fairy circles finally solved
Alcohol dependence tied to lack of key enzyme,
Rare “ring of fire” eclipse passes over Zimbabwe
Are aliens trying to tell us something? Brightest
Mexico’s Colima volcano erupts, forcing nearby communities to

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Paris Jackson ‘wants to vomit’ seeing white actor as ‘King of Pop’

12th January 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris says she is “incredibly offended” by a new comic film in which a white British actor, Joseph Fiennes, portrays the late “King of Pop.” Paris Jackson, 18, also called the tongue-in-cheek […]