Squirrels Have the Uncanny Ability to Stick Their Landings

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Squirrels Use Parkour Moves and Savvy to Stick Tricky Landing

by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

Nearly the entire life of a squirrel is spent in a death-defying, arboreal high-wire act where a miscalculated leap could spell disaster. To navigate their precarious daily rounds, squirrels make fast, sophisticated mental calculations to stick landings on wobbly branches and even deploy maneuvers frequently seen in the acrobatic free-running sport of parkour, reports Jonathan Lambert for Science News.

Those are some of the findings of a new study, published this week in the journal Science, that took a detailed look at the biomechanics and decision-making behind the gymnastic lifestyles of fox squirrels.

“As a model organism to understand the biological limits of balance and agility, I would argue that squirrels are second to none,” says study author Nathaniel Hunt, a biomechanics researcher at the University of Nebraska, in a statement. “If we try to understand how squirrels do this, then we may discover general principles of high performance locomotion in the canopy and other complex terrains that apply to the movements of other animals and robots.”

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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