Kangaroos are known for their hopping skills. However, research studies conducted at Brown University in Australia have found that ancestor predecessors of present day Kangaroos could not jump.
Christine Janis, a professor at Brown University has come up with conclusion that an extinct species of Kangaroos known as Sthenurine was not able to hop as its spine and tail was too rigid. These weighed 220 kg and were much flatter than the Kangaroos we see today.
Kangaroos today use their spiny tail as a third leg as it is flexible. The tail in Sthenurine was rigid enough and acted as a hindrance if the Kangaroo wished to jump.
Professor Janis also conducted research on another unknown fact. He focused on slower amble which Kangaroos use. This is used for slow movement rather than for hopping in speed.
Present day Kangaroos use their tails in order to slow down their movements. Sthenurine was not able to rely on this trick to slow down its movement as its tail was rigid enough. Janis was of the opinion that Sthenurine would have used some other trick when they had to move around slowly.
It is possible though that Sthenurine would have evolved from an ancestor who did hop around but as it was too bulky it chose to follow the easier path and moved around slowly. This research study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE and is likely to act as a reference document for future studies on Kangaroos.
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