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Re: Dino Knees



[my apologies to others who had their answers rejected as a result of
 moderation rule number 2.  I'm letting this one through because of the
 questions at the end. -- MR ]

> Whilst walking past a duck pond on my way to work I noticed that the knees
> of ducks appear to be "back to front" i.e. they bend in the opposite way to
> ours.

     What you are seeing bend backwards is not the knee at all, but the 
"heel", or joint between the metatarsals and ankle.  Birds, like most 
quadrapedal mammals, walk on thier toes, with thier heels sticking up and 
back.  That is what you see flexing.  The knee is hidden underneath the 
feathers farther up in the body.  
    My impresssion of the ways birds walk is that they don't move thier 
femurs as much as a quadrapedal mammal.  They hold it with the femur 
cocked forward, and most of the movement occurs at the knee and ankle, 
rather than the hip socket.  Is this so?  If so, is it to keep balance 
since the center of gravity is set forward?  In other words, in a 
dinosaur with a long tail, would there be more femur movement since the center
of gravity is set back more toward the hip socket?

LN Jeff