Chickens with Heavy Tails Walk Like Dinosaurs

What’s the difference between a chicken and a theropod dinosaur? First off, we have chickens, but all the dinosaurs are dead. But if we make a chicken more like a dinosaur, we can study how theropods (like T. rex and Velociraptor) may have moved. A team of researchers from the Universidad de Chile and the University of Illinois at Chicago put artificial tails, resembling toilet plungers, on chickens to see if it affected the way they walked.

Did the tail make a difference? The conclusion of the study says that shifting the center of mass in the chickens resulted in a different gait. Chickens with tails moved with a knee-driven walk, presumably like theropod dinosaurs, while regular chickens move with a hip-driven gait. Why do we want to know that? So you can see gifs of chickens walking with and without artificial tails at Business Insider.

(Image credit: Grossi, et. al, PLoS 2014)

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