NCBI ROFL: Geese: the pack animals of the future.

By ncbi rofl | March 3, 2010 7:00 pm

2387239278_356283932e-1Load carrying during locomotion in the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis): The effect of load placement and size.

“Load carrying has been used to study the energetics and mechanics of locomotion in a range of taxa. Here we investigated the energetic and kinematic effects of trunk and limb loading in walking barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis). A directly proportional relationship between increasing back load mass and metabolic rate was established, indicating that the barnacle goose can carry back loads (up to 20% of body mass) more economically than the majority of mammals… Sternal loads up to 15% of body mass were approximately twice as expensive to carry as back loads… Loading the distal limb with 5% extra mass incurred the greatest proportional rise in metabolism, and also caused increases in stride length, swing duration and stride frequency during locomotion. The increased work required to move the loaded limb may explain the high cost of walking.”

  • Mokele

    How is this “ROFL”-worthy? It takes about 2 brain cells to see that potential ecological relevance of this in several possible ways (cost of eggs beyond simple calories in them, cost of accumulating fat stores for migration, cost of bigger pectoral muscles).

    You want something to mock, look up anything published by Alan Feduccia

  • TheBrummell

    When they say “more economically than the majority of mammals”, what is their comparison based on? Smaller bodies can carry proportionally more of their own weight as an additional load, so are they comparing these geese to the measured load-carrying-ability of similar-sized mammals, or the much larger bodied species typically used to carry loads? As far as I know, the majority of mammals, both in species numbers and numbers of individuals, are rodents, almost all of which would be smaller than geese. Where’s the dataset of (literal) pack-rats?

    Also, I second the above sentiment that this seems a less mock-worthy study than the majority on this website.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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