Most animals with multiple gaits change at predictable speeds. However, the Jerboas, bipedal desert rodents that use three gaits, transition between these gaits at unpredictable speeds. Talia Moore (former graduate student in Biewener and Losos labs) and Andy Biewener looked at the unpredictability of the jerboas and the benefits for survival over their quadrupedal neighbors in a new study published in Nature Communications.
The study shows that when being chased, sudden changes in direction, gait and speed help jerboas elude hungry predators and maes them less anxious in open areas where more food exists. The study can also help engineers in designing systems with more life-like variation. Media: ScienceDaily