Rhinos’ feet tested to see how they support heavy loads

by Rebecca on January 12, 2012

in Animals in the News

By Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC News

Rhinos are one of the heaviest land animals but one thing puzzles scientists: how do they carry this weight on their stumpy little feet?

The team is especially interested in finding out more about rhinos because animals in captivity frequently suffer with problems with their feet. Like cattle, their feet can be trimmed to relieve pressure – but not knowing where the highest pressures are generated makes this a process of trial and error.

Prof Hutchinson said: “The more we know about how their feet work, the more we can help them.”

The RVC team also said that learning about how rhinos carry their bulk could also lead to interesting applications in the future.

Prof Hutchinson explained: “From understanding the feet of rhinos, as an example of a big land mammal, we could draw inspiration and understand how to build devices that can handle heavy loads and carry them around while moving.”

To read more see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16286655

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