Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toads anticipate the timing and impact of their landings

Date:
February 12, 2010
Source:
Mount Holyoke College
Summary:
Humans may not have a leg up on toads, at least not when it comes to jumping and landing, according to new research. Researchers shows that toads, like humans, are capable of anticipating when and how hard they're going to land after a jump and activating muscles important in absorbing impact accordingly.

Toads, like humans, are capable of anticipating when and how hard they're going to land after a jump and activating muscles important in absorbing impact accordingly.
Credit: iStockphoto/Steve McGuire

Humans may not have a leg up on toads, at least not when it comes to jumping and landing, according to new research by Gary B. Gillis, associate professor of biology at Mount Holyoke College. In a paper published February 3 in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, Gillis shows that toads, like humans, are capable of anticipating when and how hard they're going to land after a jump and activating muscles important in absorbing impact accordingly.

Related Articles


The paper, titled "Do Toads Have a Jump on How Far They Hop...," was co-authored by Gillis and two Mount Holyoke undergraduates, Trupti Akella '09 and Rashmi Gunaratne '10.

Until now, such prescient limb muscle activity has only been demonstrated in mammals, but Gillis and his team showed that hopping toads can alter both the intensity and timing of activity in muscles used to stabilize their forelimbs on impact. In long hops, when impact forces are known to be higher, elbow muscles exhibited more intense activity just prior to landing than during short hops. In addition, one major elbow muscle was always activated at a fixed interval prior to landing in all hops, regardless of distance, suggesting that toads not only gauge how hard they're going to hit the ground, but also anticipate precisely when that will happen.

"We believe this data represents the first demonstration of tuned pre-landing muscle use in anurans (frogs and toads)," said Gillis. "It raises questions about how widespread this ability is among other species and how important feedback from various sensory systems--e.g., vision--is for mediating this ability."

This coming summer, Gillis and his students will be conducting similar experiments on different species of frogs to determine if their findings are unique to toads or common in anurans. They will also be making a blindfold for toads so they can test Gillis's hypothesis that vision is necessary for these animals to anticipate the timing and magnitude of impact.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mount Holyoke College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gillis et al. Do toads have a jump on how far they hop? Pre-landing activity timing and intensity in forelimb muscles of hopping Bufo marinus. Biology Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1005

Cite This Page:

Mount Holyoke College. "Toads anticipate the timing and impact of their landings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211135307.htm>.
Mount Holyoke College. (2010, February 12). Toads anticipate the timing and impact of their landings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211135307.htm
Mount Holyoke College. "Toads anticipate the timing and impact of their landings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211135307.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) This rescued pygmy marmoset named Ninita is obsessed with her toothbrush. It's cuteness overload, and Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the amazing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 19, 2014) Two big chocolate producers are warning the popular treat could run out by 2020 because people are eating it faster than farmers can grow cocoa. Ciara Lee reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A tiny hamster and a bunny and rat enjoy a tiny Thanksgiving meal where they stuff themselves to the brim. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the cute video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A giant panda at the Toronto Zoo named Da Mao is celebrating the northeast snowfall by playing and tumbling in the snow in his outdoor enclosure. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins