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Turns Out Kangaroos Have A 'Fifth Leg'

Turns Out Kangaroos Have A 'Fifth Leg'

How many legs does a kangaroo have? Four, right?
Well, according to new research, the right answer is actually five. Yes, five.

A study published in Biology Letters online Thursday says, when walking on all fours, kangaroos use their tails as a powerful fifth leg to help propel themselves forward.

BBC reports to come to this conclusion, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder studied five red kangaroos in a lab in Sydney, Australia, and measured the force their tails exerted on the ground.

They found, while the roos were walking on all fours, their tails acted as a fifth leg of sorts, working harder to propel the marsupials forward than their front and hind legs combined. Talk about getting a leg up.

One of the study's authors said in a statement, "We went into this thinking the tail was primarily used like a strut, a balancing pole, or a one-legged milking stool. What we didn't expect to find was how much power the tails of the kangaroos were producing. It was pretty darn surprising."

As National Geographic points out, scientists aren't aware of any other animals that use their tails like this.

The study's authors believe that the kangaroo's use of its tail as an extra leg evolved to make its trademark hop faster and more efficient.

But, as it turns out, walking and hopping aren't the only things the kangaroo's muscular tail is good for.

Red kangaroos are notorious for getting into scuffles with other roos. As Animal Planet notes, during a fight, the animals will deal out some nasty kicks while supporting all of their body weight on its tail.

And LiveScience points out kangaroos' tails help them balance and turn while they're hopping along.

Quite a "tail," right? The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.

Join the discussion

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crowland503 July 03 2014 at 11:43 AM

Barak Obama has a third leg, but his third foot got stuck in his mouth for the last six years! To bad this phony, deadbeat president not tarred and feathered and ran out of...

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1 reply
ibdoowop crowland503 July 03 2014 at 12:41 PM

Your racism and degree of both hate an ignorance is pathetic. People who have nothing intelligent to say often take this route.

Your pointy white hood defines exactly whom you are. I actually feel sorry for people like you who have nothing to contribute to society except for hate and a low IQ.

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6 replies
thomashollman19 July 03 2014 at 12:02 PM

PRETTY HARD UP FOR STUFF TO WRITE ABOUT?? LETS TALK ABOUT HOW WORTHLESS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND OBAMA ARE LUCKY FOR US ONLY 2 1/2 MORE YEARS OF THIS JACKEL AND THIS WORTLESS PARTY

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1 reply
karsport thomashollman19 July 03 2014 at 2:33 PM

You don't have to shout to let everyone what an ass you are. It is very apparent from content of your post.

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1 reply
coopdabomb karsport July 03 2014 at 5:16 PM

NOT APPARENT ENOUGH, OSAMA OBAMA WAS RE-ELECTED. sIGN ME UP TO BE A MEMBER OF YOUR ASS CLUB.

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muffin July 03 2014 at 11:42 AM

Thank you for this earth-shattering news. I would never had know this had not you told me. I will remember this next time I am being chased by a kangaroo. The wonders of science, or expensive studies in the name of science, never die.

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2 replies
onionson muffin July 03 2014 at 2:11 PM

Not all news has to be earth shattering and I'm not surprised you would not have known if not told. You only want to learn about animals that might chase you? Yes indeed, the wonders of science. Yes, there are some expensive studies and some are foolish but many have helped mankind well beyond their cost. Yes these studies will never die. It is in man's nature to study the unknown and some will be stupid but overall it will be worth it.

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1 reply
Ralph Richardson onionson July 03 2014 at 2:41 PM

An expensive study to validate the obvious is akin to performing the same task over and over expecting different results. Idiocy.

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muffin muffin July 03 2014 at 4:50 PM

to onionson: I made a silly comment. It was not to be taken seriously as you have questioned. You need to lighten up. Tell me, what did you find so important about this study?

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janieturnage July 03 2014 at 10:58 AM

Kangaroos have been around for how long? And this has just now been discovered? It is so obvious.

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iluvfreespeech July 04 2014 at 3:05 AM

call it what it is.............. a tail

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dwtomczyk July 03 2014 at 6:16 PM

way to go joey

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coopdabomb July 03 2014 at 5:17 PM

Big deal I was born with a middle leg

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Lloyd Martinson July 03 2014 at 11:17 AM

Its still A Tail !!

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bambi4318.barbara July 03 2014 at 12:25 PM

I am so glad to learn this about the kangaroo, I was losing sleep over it.

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chuck July 03 2014 at 2:14 PM

thats cool. next time i see one in my town ill move over for him.

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