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.

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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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