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Kangaroos use tail as fifth leg, say researchers

Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 - 00:45

The bounciest animal of all - the kangaroo - uses its tail as a fifth leg while walking. That's the surprising finding of Canadian, Australian and US researchers, who say the animal's tail helps it maintain balance as it grazes for food. Jim Drury reports.

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According to scientists, the kangaroo uses its tail as a fifth leg. While best known for hopping, the marsupial spends most of its time walking as it grazes for food In tests conducted inside this force-measuring Plexiglas box, the researchers, from Canada, Australia and the US found that the marsupial's tail gives as much forward force as its front and hind legs combined. In fact, sensors showed its tail, supported by more than 20 vertebrae, did as much mechanical work as a human leg, It's believed the kangaroo is the only animal that uses its tail as a leg, although it's a versatile limb, becoming a powerful counterweight when the kangaroo takes flight.

Kangaroos use tail as fifth leg, say researchers

Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 - 00:45

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