Feeds

Boffin bothers frogs until they spill super power secrets

What makes them leap so far?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A springy catapult tendon is what sends frogs flying far beyond what their muscles alone could achieve, a boffin researching frog jumps has discovered.

By attaching metal beads to the shin bones, ankles and leg muscles of frogs and filming them jumping with a 3D X-ray video camera, Henry Astley a biomechanics grad student at Brown, finally worked out what makes little amphibians so springy.

Frog jumping, credit Mike Cohea, Brown University

Biomechanics grad Henry Astley with a frog: The frog can be explained, the 'burns can't

Frogs have a tendon called the plantaris longus (humans also have a plantaris tendon – running down our calves towards the Achilles tendon –, though we hardly use ours) that the leg muscle loads up with stored elastic energy. When the frog leaps, the tendon recoils like a spring and hurls the little frog far further than the creature could jump with just its leg muscles, Astley and Brown University biology professor Thomas Roberts concluded.

"Muscles alone couldn't produce jumps that good," said Astley, who specialises in the biomechanics of frog jumping. Frog jumping is one of the most powerful accelerations in vertebrate locomotion, and even though as much as a quarter of a frog's body mass is in its legs, it would be physically incapable of jumping as far without the tendon's services.

"It's the first time we've really gotten the inner workings, that we've put all the pieces (to frog jumping) together," Astley said. "We now have a clearer idea what's going on."

"Frogs are interesting in their own right, but we are also confident that this study gives us insight into how muscles and tendons work together in animal movement," said Roberts. "Other studies have presented evidence for an elastic mechanism, but Henry's gives us the first glimpse of how it actually works." ®

Evidence for a vertebrate catapult: elastic energy storage in the plantaris tendon during frog jumping, by Henry C Astley and Thomas J Roberts, is published in Biology Letters, 16 November, 2011 edition.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.