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Biomechanical reasons for bipedalism in reptiles

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Bipedal locomotion can be observed in numerous species of recent tetrapodal reptiles which usually have well developed tails and hindlimbs while the forelimbs are considerably shorter and weaker than the hindlimbs. It is commonly used when the reptiles move at the highest possible speeds of locomotion. The different development of the extremities is a common feature among recent reptiles that can be understood as an adaptation to quick acceleration. Additionally it reduces the interference of fore-and hindlimbs at high speeds. We present some biomechanical arguments to show how and why bipedalism can facilitate quick running in recent reptiles in which the hindlimbs are much longer and stronger than the forelimbs. Our main arguments can also be applied to some dinosaurs.

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Anatomie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany


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