weight-bearing anatomical structure found in vertebrates
(Redirected from Heel)

Land vertebrates have feet. The organization of their feet varies. Two factors come into play: weight and lifestyle.

1. Plantigrade: heavy animals usually put their heels down to support their weight.

2. Unguligrade: large animals with hooves.

3. Digitigrade is usually reserved for lighter animals. It means to walk on the toes.

Comparison of lower limb structure. From left to right: plantigrade, digitigrade and unguligrade.

Walking change

Most heavy animals walk on four legs.[1][2] There are some exceptions. Some really heavy birds move or moved on two legs. Moas are one example and ostriches run very well on two legs.

Birds generally are an example of the change from quadruped walk (originally as dinosaurs), to bipedalism. Humans are also examples of changes that started in arboreal apes.

The study of such things is called "comparative foot morphology".

References change

  1. Griffin T.M; Main R.P; Farley C.T. 2004. Biomechanics of quadrupedal walking: how do four-legged animals achieve inverted pendulum-like movements?. J Exp Biol. 207 (20): 3545–3558. doi:10.1242/jeb.01177. PMID 15339951
  2. Weissengruber G.E; & Forstenpointer G. 2004. Shock absorbers and more: design principles of the lower hind limbs in African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). J. Morphology 260: 339.