Avian Bipedal Locomotion

Bipedal locomotion is crucial for the survival of most bird species. Birds thus represent a natural testbed for theories on locomotor adaptations and specializations. Aspects of the proximal limb and its complex coupling to the rigid trunk in particular have been largely ignored by research to date. Tedious data processing and the necessarily elaborate setups have only permitted a few exemplary studies. By combining the available digital biplanar high speed x-ray technology with advanced algorithms for (semi-)automatic data tracking, comparative studies in morphology, kinematics, kinetics and modeling, we intend to investigate general principles of bipedal locomotion and adaptations of the avian locomotor system. We will focus on three levels: individual motor variance, species-specific morphology and global strategies for general movement goals such as speed or stability. It will be necessary to develop a new tool for data processing in order to handle the enormous amount of data produced and meet the extreme demands that will be placed on 3D x-ray-based inverse dynamics. As a result, this project will integrate pioneering computer vision techniques for automatic feature point tracking and the reconstruction of 3D motion. We intend to investigate whether the variability of the kinematics of locomotion while walking and running on a belt translates into corresponding variation at the level of the centre of mass. We will then explore how differences in geometry and morphology between 12 carefully selected species are expressed in local and global (COM) kinematics and kinetics. We hope to be able to expand our understanding of stability on the level of the leg, the trunk and the centre of mass in birds as bipedal animals, and finally to contribute to a new insight into avian evolution.

Antragsteller Joachim Denzler
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Blickhan
Prof. Dr. Martin Fischer
Lehrstuhl Lehrstuhl Angewandte Informatik
Drittmittelgeber DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Laufzeit Mai 2010
Stellen 3
Besetzung Daniel Haase
Brandon Kilbourne
John Nyakatura
Projektart Einzelprojekt
Link zur Webseite