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This Element examines visual perception in the context of activities that involve moving about in complex, dynamic environments. A central theme is that the ability of humans and other animals to perceive their surroundings based on vision is profoundly shaped by the need to adaptively regulate locomotion to variations in the environment. As such, important new insights into what and how we perceive can be gleaned by investigating the connection between vision and the control of locomotion. I present an integrated summary of decades of research on the perception of self-motion and object motion based on optic flow, the perception of spatial layout and affordances, and the control strategies for guiding locomotion based on visual information. I also explore important theoretical issues and debates, including the question of whether visual control relies on internal models.
Infant motor skill acquisition is so rapid and dramatic that a century of researchers – and eons of parents – have marveled at the scope of developmental change. At birth, infants are essentially prisoners of gravity, unable to lift their heads from their caregivers’ chest. But by 2 years of age, infants can “pluck a pellet with fine pincer prehension” (Gesell, 1929, p. 132) and race on two feet across the living room floor. This remarkable transformation in action characterizes the development of basic motor skills – posture for supporting the body against gravitational and inertial forces, manual skills for interacting with objects and surfaces, and locomotion for moving the body through the environment (Adolph & Berger, 2015).
The study reported in this research communication aimed to assess the influence of maternal contact on calves' activity, fearfulness, and social competence. Calves were either dam-reared for their first 14 d of age (Maternal Contact, n = 12) or were separated from their dams within 12 h after birth (Motherless, n = 12). Calves of both treatments and the dams of Maternal Contact calves were group-housed and suckling was prevented with udder nets. The general activity (lying, locomotion, swapping between lying and standing) was measured using pedometers in eight Maternal Contact and eight Motherless calves within a 24-d period. Since general activity might be affected by calves' age or the separation of Maternal Contact calves from the dams the 24-d period was additionally divided into two groups (period A: 3rd–13th day of age, period B: 14th–27th day of age). Emotionality and social competence were assessed in the open field, novel object, and confrontation test with an unknown cow at 14, 21, and 28 d of age, respectively. Mann–Whitney-U-tests were performed for statistical analysis. Locomotion was greater in Motherless calves than Maternal Contact calves during the 24-d period (A + B combined, P < 0.001) and period B (14th to 27th day of age, P < 0.001). There was no treatment difference in duration of lying or in the amount of swapping in any of the periods. After a Bonferroni correction, which we used due to the exploratory character of the study, there were no treatment differences in behaviours indicating emotionality. Compared to Motherless calves, Maternal Contact calves showed increased vigilance (P < 0.01) during the confrontation test. The results of this study indicate that mother-reared calves likely searched less for social contact and developed greater social skills than calves that were separated from their mothers soon after birth.
Moulting is essential for crustacean growth, but is one of the causes of mortality, because a crustacean cannot move during and just after its ecdysis. In the cases of ectosymbiotic crabs, escape from the host's hostile response may also be a problem during its own ecdysis. In this study, Sestrostoma sp. (Varunidae), an ectosymbiotic crab which clings to the ventral abdomen of upogebiid shrimps with legs that can walk, was studied to clarify how the crab moults and maintains association with the host. Five cases of crab ecdysis were observed, where the crab moulted with its legs clinging to the host abdomen, without detaching from the host body. Time required for moulting was 14–21 min. Shedding of the old exoskeleton (active phase) took only 40–59 s. Sestrostoma sp. detached from the host abdomen and waited in the burrow tube during shrimp ecdysis. The crab then reattached at the same location on the host when shrimp moulting was complete. Our results suggest that Sestrostoma sp. are able to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the same shrimp host after its own ecdysis as well after ecdysis of its host.
Soft robots can perform effectively inspecting than rigid robots in some special environments such as nuclear pipelines and high-voltage cables. This article presents a versatile quadruped soft rod-climbing robot (SR-CR) that consists of four bending actuators and a telescopic actuator. The bending actuator is composed of flexible bellows with multiple folding air chambers, elastic telescopic layer (ETL), and strain-limiting layer (SLL). The telescopic actuator provides the energy for the robot to climb forward. The SR-CR is activated by a control strategy that alternates the body deformation and feet pneumatic clenched for stable climbing. The robot can climb rods at 90°, with the maximum speed of up to 2.33 mm/s (0.018 body length/s). At 0.83 HZ, the maximum moving speed of the robot in climbing horizontally parallel rods can reach 18.43 mm/s. In addition, the SR-CR can also achieve multiple impressive functions, including turning around a corner at a rate of 7 mm/s (0.054 body length/s), carrying a payload of 3.7 times its self-weight on horizontal rods at a speed of 9 mm/s (0.069 body length/s).
Trematode transmission in aquatic habitats from molluscan intermediate host to vertebrate or invertebrate target host is typically undertaken by a free-living stage known as cercariae. Active locomotion by cercariae is a key aspect of the transmission process with the swimming speed potentially contributing to infection success. Individual cercarial species swim at different speeds but the significance of this to infection potential has not been determined. This study, using data from the scientific literature, investigates the role of swimming speed in relation to cercarial morphology, host-searching strategies and target host species. Larger cercariae swim faster than smaller ones with tail length being the principal factor controlling locomotion rates. Different cercarial morphotypes swim at different speeds, in particular, furcocercariae, with the exception of the schistosomes, being faster swimmers than mono-tailed cercariae. Host-searching behaviour has a significant influence on swimming speeds with ‘active-searching’ strategies swimming slower than those adopting ‘active-waiting’ or ‘prey mimcry’ strategies. Vertebrate-infecting cercariae swim faster than those infecting invertebrates with species targeting fish demonstrating the highest locomotion rates and those targeting arthropods the slowest speeds. The adaptions of individual cercarial swimming speeds to biological variables and their interactions with the physical processes of aquatic habitats are discussed.
Fernandez and Mittelmann focus on Aristotle’s analogy between the soul as an efficient cause and a craft. They argue that the acts of a craft are a special kind of vital act of a rational soul and that the continuous unifying activity of the source of motion in those cases, which must be constantly and not episodically at work in and throughout each of its acts, is not an idiosyncratic feature of the rational case, but the rational version of a form of efficient causality that is at work in all those vital phenomena of which the soul is said to be the efficient cause.
This chapter examines the role of selection in driving certain aspects of pelvic morphology, particularly the differences between mediolateral breadths and anteroposterior breadths. The chapter is divided into three sections, representing the three key selection pressures researchers have spent the most time on – namely, obstetrics, locomotion and thermoregulation. Data for the role of each of these on pelvic morphology are considered, as is discussion of the myriad ways human populations have mixed and matched morphological traits to manage these selection pressures. Clearly, there is not a single strategy for handling the interactive nature of these pressures.
This chapter examines the fossil record of hominoid and hominin pelvic remains from the Miocene through to the Late Pleistocene. The interpretation of functional demands shaping hominin pelvic morphology including locomotion, obstetrics and thermoregulation are discussed, as well as evidence for pelvic sexual dimorphism in hominin species. The long-standing view of a relatively linear pattern of hominin pelvic evolution from Australopiths, through early Homo, to Neanderthals, broken only by the appearance of the somewhat divergent morphology of Homo sapiens is examined in light of recent fossil pelvis discoveries that point to greater diversity in the hominin pelvic morphology. These fossils add to evidence from elsewhere in the postcranium that indicate there were multiple ways to be a bipedal hominin.
This paper proposes a new design of robust control combining feedback linearization, backstepping, and sliding mode control called FLBS applied to the locomotion of five-link biped robot. Due to the underactuated robot’s model, the system has a hybrid nature, while the FLBS control can provide a stabilized walking movement even with the existence of large disturbances and uncertainties by implementing smooth chatter-free signals. Stability of the method is proven using the Lyapunov theorem based on the hybrid zero dynamics and Poincaré map. The simulations show the controller performance such as robustness and chatter-free response in the presence of uncertainty and disturbance.
This book provides a synthetic overview of all evidence concerning the evolution of the morphology of the human pelvis, including comparative anatomy, clinical and experimental studies, and quantitative evolutionary models. By integrating these lines of research, this is the first book to bring all sources of evidence together to develop a coherent statement about the current state of the art in understanding pelvic evolution. Second, and related to this, the volume is the first detailed assessment of existing paradigms about the evolution of the pelvis, especially the obstetric dilemma. The authors argue that there are many 'dilemmas', but these must be approached using a testable methodology, rather than on the proviso of a single paradigm. The volume clearly contributes to greater scientific knowledge about human variation and evolution, and has implications for clinicians working within reproductive health. A thought-provoking read for students, researchers and professionals in the fields of biological anthropology, human evolutionary anthropology, paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, biology, developmental biology and obstetrics.
Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of lower limb loss (LL) on mental workload by assessing neurocognitive measures in individuals with unilateral transtibial (TT) versus those with transfemoral (TF) LL while dual-task walking under varying cognitive demand. Methods: Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded as participants performed a task of varying cognitive demand while being seated or walking (i.e., varying physical demand). Results: The findings revealed both groups of participants (TT LL vs. TF LL) exhibited a similar EEG theta synchrony response as either the cognitive or the physical demand increased. Also, while individuals with TT LL maintained similar performance on the cognitive task during seated and walking conditions, those with TF LL exhibited performance decrements (slower response times) on the cognitive task during the walking in comparison to the seated conditions. Furthermore, those with TF LL neither exhibited regional differences in EEG low-alpha power while walking, nor EEG high-alpha desynchrony as a function of cognitive task difficulty while walking. This lack of alpha modulation coincided with no elevation of theta/alpha ratio power as a function of cognitive task difficulty in the TF LL group. Conclusions: This work suggests that both groups share some common but also different neurocognitive features during dual-task walking. Although all participants were able to recruit neural mechanisms critical for the maintenance of cognitive-motor performance under elevated cognitive or physical demands, the observed differences indicate that walking with a prosthesis, while concurrently performing a cognitive task, imposes additional cognitive demand in individuals with more proximal levels of amputation.
Pathogens are increasingly implicated in amphibian declines but less is known about parasites and the role they play. We focused on a genus of nematodes (Rhabdias) that is widespread in amphibians and examined their genetic diversity, abundance (prevalence and intensity), and impact in a common toad (Rhinella horribilis) in Panama. Our molecular data show that toads were infected by at least four lineages of Rhabdias, most likely Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala, and multiple lineages were present in the same geographic locality, the same host and even the same lung. Mean prevalence of infection per site was 63% and mean intensity of infection was 31 worms. There was a significant effect of host size on infection status in the wild: larger toads were more likely to be infected than were smaller conspecifics. Our experimental infections showed that toadlets that were penetrated by many infective Rhabdias larvae grew less than those who were penetrated by few larvae. Exposure to Rhabdias reduced toadlet locomotor performance (both sustained speed and endurance) but did not influence toadlet survival. The effects of Rhabdias infection on their host appear to be primarily sublethal, however, dose-dependent reduction in growth and an overall impaired locomotor performance still represents a significant reduction in host fitness.
The unique frictional properties conferred by snake ventral scales inspired the engineering and fabrication of surrogate mechanisms for a robotic snake. These artificial, biologically inspired scales produce anisotropic body-ground forcing patterns with various locomotion surfaces. The benefits they confer to robotic snake-like locomotion were evaluated in experimental trials employing rectilinear, lateral undulation, and sidewinding gaits over several distinct surface types: carpet, inhomogeneous concrete and homogeneous concrete. Enhanced locomotive performance, with respect to net displacement and heading stability, was consistently measured in scenarios that utilized the engineered scales, over equivalent scenarios where the anisotropic effects of scales were absent.
Swimming propagules (embryos and larvae) are a critical component of the life histories of benthic marine animals. Larvae that feed (planktotrophic) have been assumed to swim faster, disperse farther and have more complex behavioural patterns than non-feeding (lecithotrophic) larvae. However, a number of recent studies challenge these early assumptions, suggesting a need to revisit them more formally. The current review presents a quantitative analysis of swimming speed and body size in planktotrophic and lecithotrophic propagules across five major marine phyla (Porifera, Cnidaria, Annelida, Mollusca and Echinodermata). Results of the comparative study showed that swimming speed differences among ciliated propagules can be driven by taxonomy, adult mobility (motile vs sessile) and/or larval nutritional mode. On a phylogenetic level, distinct patterns emerge across phyla and life stages, whereby planktotrophic propagules swim faster in some of them, and lecithotrophic propagules swim faster in others. Interestingly, adults with sessile and sedentary lifestyles produce propagules that swam faster than the propagules produced by motile adults. Understanding similarities and differences among marine propagules associated with different reproductive strategies and adult lifestyles are significant from ecological, evolutionary and applied perspectives. Patterns of swimming can directly impact the dispersal/recruitment potential with incidence on the design of larval rearing methods and marine protected areas.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate locomotor strategies during development in domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus); we were motivated, in part, by current efforts to improve the design of housing systems for laying hens which aim to reduce injury and over-exertion. Using four strains of laying hens (Lohmann Brown, Lohmann LSL lite, Dekalb White and Hyline Brown) throughout this longitudinal study, we investigated their locomotor style and climbing capacity in relation to the degree (0 to 70°) of incline, age (2 to 36 weeks) and the surface substrate (sandpaper or wire grid). Chicks and adult fowl performed only walking behavior to climb inclines ⩽40° and performed a combination of wing-assisted incline running (WAIR) or aerial ascent on steeper inclines. Fewer birds used their wings to aid their hind limbs when climbing 50° inclines on wire grid surface compared with sandpaper. The steepness of angle achieved during WAIR and the tendency to fly instead of using WAIR increased with increasing age and experience. White-feathered strains performed more wing-associated locomotor behavior compared with brown-feathered strains. A subset of birds was never able to climb incline angles >40° even when using WAIR. Therefore, we suggest that inclines of up to 40° should be provided for hens in three-dimensional housing systems, which are easily negotiated (without wing use) by chicks and adult fowl.
To tackle the high prevalence of lameness, techniques to monitor cow locomotion are being developed in order to detect changes in cows’ locomotion due to lameness. Obviously, in such lameness detection systems, alerts should only respond to locomotion changes that are related to lameness. However, other environmental or cow factors can contribute to locomotion changes not related to lameness and hence, might cause false alerts. In this study the effects of wet surfaces, dark environment, age, production level, lactation and gestation stage on cow locomotion were investigated. Data was collected at Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research research farm (Melle, Belgium) during a 5-month period. The gait variables of 30 non-lame and healthy Holstein cows were automatically measured every day. In dark environments and on wet walking surfaces cows took shorter, more asymmetrical strides with less step overlap. In general, older cows had a more asymmetrical gait and they walked slower with more abduction. Lactation stage or gestation stage also showed significant association with asymmetrical and shorter gait and less step overlap probably due to the heavy calf in the uterus. Next, two lameness detection algorithms were developed to investigate the added value of environmental and cow data into detection models. One algorithm solely used locomotion variables and a second algorithm used the same locomotion variables and additional environmental and cow data. In the latter algorithm only age and lactation stage together with the locomotion variables were withheld during model building. When comparing the sensitivity for the detection of non-lame cows, sensitivity increased by 10% when the cow data was added in the algorithm (sensitivity was 70% and 80% for the first and second algorithm, respectively). Hence, the number of false alerts for lame cows that were actually non-lame, decreased. This pilot study shows that using knowledge on influencing factors on cow locomotion will help in reducing the number of false alerts for lameness detection systems under development. However, further research is necessary in order to better understand these and many other possible influencing factors (e.g. trimming, conformation) of non-lame and hence ‘normal’ locomotion in cows.
Although the cognitive-enhancing abilities after modafinil have been demonstrated, its effects on memory consolidation remain overlooked. We investigated the effects of repeated modafinil administration on consolidation of a discriminative avoidance task.
Mice were trained in the plus-maze discriminative avoidance task. After training, mice received intraperitonial modafinil (doses of 32, 64 or 128 mg/kg). Animals were treated for more 9 consecutive days; 30 min after the last injection, testing was performed. In addition, the effects of 32 mg/kg modafinil on consolidation at different time points were examined.
The smaller dose of modafinil (32 mg/kg) impaired memory consolidation, without modifying anxiety or locomotion. Still, modafinil post-training administration at 1 or 2 h impaired memory persistence.
Modafinil impaired memory consolidation in a dose- and time-dependent fashion.
We report here a new elasmosaurid from the early Maastrichtian at Bentiaba, southern Angola. Phylogenetic analysis places the new taxon as the sister taxon to Styxosaurus snowii, and that clade as the sister of a clade composed of (Hydrotherosaurus alexandrae (Libonectes morgani + Elasmosaurus platyurus)). The new taxon has a reduced dorsal blade of the scapula, a feature unique amongst elasmosaurids, but convergent with cryptoclidid plesiosaurs, and indicates a longitudinal protraction-retraction limb cycle rowing style with simple pitch rotation at the glenohumeral articulation. Morphometric phylogenetic analysis of the coracoids of 40 eosauropterygian taxa suggests that there was a broad range of swimming styles within the clade.