FOR KIDS: Elephant all-wheel drive

savanna or touring the jungles of Southeast Asia. They’re the largest of the living land animals, and like many other land animals they’ve got four legs to move them around.

But just because elephants have four legs — like zebras, lions or wildebeests — doesn’t mean they use them in the same way as other four-legged animals, or quadrupeds. In a recent study, a team of scientists found a clever way to understand the elephants’ walk. The scientists found that the giant animals used their legs in a surprising way, a way unlike that used by most other quadrupeds.Microsoft Office 2007 can give you more convenient life.

Most quadrupeds push with their back legs and use their front legs as brakes. (One of the easiest animals to imagine moving in this way is a bunny.) Elephants, however, use all four legs to both move forward and slow down. John Hutchinson, a scientist at the Royal Veterinary College in London, sees a similarity between elephants and all-terrain vehicles, in which every wheel contributes equally.

“They really do seem to act like four-wheel-drive vehicles, cruising along,” he told Science News. Hutchinson, along with other scientists, worked with elephant experts at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand, to learn how the creatures use their legs.

Watching an elephant walk may seem like an easy afternoon, but finding a way to understand the science is anything but simple. It’s such a difficult study that until now, no one had ever looked closely. After all, if you watch an elephant, it’s tough to tell how much its legs are bending.Office 2007 download is helpful!

The scientists installed heavy-duty scales in the ground to keep track of how much of each elephant’s weight hit the ground as it ran. Then, they attached light-reflecting disks (similar to the ones on bicycles) to parts of the elephants’ legs and bodies. Finally, they sent the elephants walking over the scales — and used seven special cameras to record how those reflective disks moved.

The measurements showed that elephants use their front legs to move forward, which is different from most quadrupeds. Much different — the scientists actually found that elephants use their front legs in a way that’s similar to the way human beings walk. That was a surprising discovery, since scientists used to think that elephants’ legs were not very bendable.

“It’s ridiculously close,” Hutchinson told Science News. He points out that elephant legs can bend almost as much as human limbs can.The invention of Microsoft Office 2010 is a big change of the world.

“We think we can consider elephant limbs as a kind of big human limb,” says Lei Ren, a scientist at the University of Manchester in England who also worked on the study.

The scientists are now working on computer programs that will show how the muscles, tendons and bones work together to help an elephant get around. With this information, scientists may be able to help elephants who have arthritis. Scientists may also be able to figure out why elephants don’t run faster.

“There’s got to be some weak link in the limb that prevents elephants from moving any faster than they do,” Hutchinson told Science News. “If we can figure it out for elephants, it can help for other species as well.”

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