Academic journal article Science Scope

A New Twist on Leaping

Academic journal article Science Scope

A New Twist on Leaping

Article excerpt

A small, secretive creature with unlikely qualifications for defying gravity may hold the answer to an entirely new way of getting off the ground. Salamanders--or at least several species of the Plethodontidae family--can jump in a way humans would like to know a lot more about. "This particular jump is unique in the world," said graduate researcher Anthony Hessel. "That's why I think a lot of people are finding this very interesting."

The Northern Arizona University student calls the move a "hip-twist jump" that powers a "flat catapult," de-scribing the biomechanics in language the public can access. "It's a new way to get vertical lift for animals," Hessel said. "Something that is flat on the ground, that is not pushing directly down on the ground, can still get up in the air. I'd say that hundreds of engineers will now toy with the idea and figure out what cool things can be built from it."

Hessel used high-speed film, a home-built cantilever beam apparatus, some well-established engineering equations, and biomechanical analysis to produce the details of how a slippery little amphibian with short legs can propel itself 6 to 10 times its body length into the air. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.