Issue
Spring/Summer
2007
Volume
20
Issue
1
Contact
Cornell University
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At Cornell

Bats in the Air and on the Ground
 

Bat

Studying Locomotion and Muscular Design

From Horses to Bats
John Hermanson

John Hermanson
Biomedical Sciences

Studying the anatomy of four-legged mammals such as horses provides a fascinating window into the diversity of locomotion. I spend a lot of time at the College of Veterinary Medicine researching this. My colleagues and I have examined the spring-based locomotion of trotting horses, which is why horses can trot for great distances without depleting their energy reserves and why they have a nasty and uncomfortable bounce for novice riders at trotting speeds. Locomotion and muscular design are focal areas of my research. Model animals range from mouse to sheep to horse. So how do bats fit into this scheme?

Bat Locomotion

Bats are athletic mammals that are efficient flyers. They cover great distances quickly and efficiently. Having both ground and air locomotion, they offer fascinating prospects for answering all sorts of questions, and they are wonderful model organisms for training students. I was first intrigued by bats as an undergraduate. Subsequently, my early research focused on the anatomy and physiology of the muscles that power flight.

 

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