Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Leaping toads reveal muscle-protecting mechanism

Date:
December 19, 2012
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Most people are impressed by how a toad jumps. One biologist is more impressed by how one lands.

Most people are impressed by how a toad jumps. UC Irvine biologist Emanuel Azizi is more impressed by how one lands.

Related Articles


An assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology who specializes in muscle physiology and biomechanics, Azizi found that nature's favorite leapers possess a neuromuscular response that's specific to the intensity of a landing -- a mechanism that protects muscles from injury upon impact.

The research is helping reveal how the nervous system modulates motor control patterns involved with jumping and landing. Azizi's findings on the underlying function of muscle control, he said, could one day improve rehabilitation programs for people with neuromuscular deficiencies.

In all vertebrates -- from toads to humans -- muscles contract to provide jumping power. Landing, however, requires that muscles stretch to dissipate energy and slow the body. But if muscles become overstretched during landing, injury can occur.

For a study appearing online December 19 in Biology Letters, Azizi and UC Irvine graduate student Emily Abbott measured toads' muscular responses to leaps of different lengths. They discovered that during landing, toads' muscles adapt to the varying intensity of impact. As the creatures hop over longer distances, their landing muscles increasingly shorten in anticipation of larger impacts.

This pattern indicates that rapid and coordinated responses of the nervous system can act to protect muscles from injury, said Azizi, who added that future efforts will be aimed at understanding what sensory information is used to modulate these responses.

"Toads are ideal for studying jumping and landing because they're so good at it," he noted. "This work is providing the basic science on how muscles respond during high-impact behaviors like landing or falling."

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Video of leaping toads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvxEkFymua8&feature=youtu.be


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Azizi, E. M. Abbott. Anticipatory motor patterns limit muscle stretch during landing in toads. Biology Letters, 2012; 9 (1): 20121045 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.1045

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Leaping toads reveal muscle-protecting mechanism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133652.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2012, December 19). Leaping toads reveal muscle-protecting mechanism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133652.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Leaping toads reveal muscle-protecting mechanism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133652.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

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