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Head stabilization in small vertebrates that run at high frequencies with a sprawled posture

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Abstract
Small animals face a large challenge when running. A stable head is key to maintenance of a stable gaze and a good sense of self-motion and spatial awareness. However, trunk undulations caused by the cyclic limb movements result in involuntary head movements. Hence, the head needs to be stabilized. Humans are capable of stabilizing their head up to 2-3 Hz, but small animals run at cycle frequencies that are up to six times higher. We wondered how natural selection has adapted their head stabilization control. We observed that the relative contributions of vision, on the one hand, and vestibular perception and proprioception, on the other hand, remain the same when lizards undergo fast or slow body undulations in an experimental set-up. Lizards also maintain a short phase lag at both low and high undulation frequencies. Hence, we found no indication that they use a different control mechanism at high frequencies. Instead, head stabilization probably remains possible owing to faster reflex pathways and a lower head inertia. Hence, the intrinsic physical and neurological characteristics of lizards seem to be sufficient to enable head stabilization at high frequencies, obviating the need for evolutionary adaptation of the control pathways. These properties are not unique to lizards and might, therefore, also facilitate head stabilization at high frequencies in other small, fast animals.
Keywords
VESTIBULAR SYSTEM, TRUNK, TERRESTRIAL, LOCOMOTION, MOBILITY, PERFORMANCE, MOVEMENTS, LIZARDS, MONKEYS, REFLEX, balance, body undulation, gaze stabilization, vestibular system, vision

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MLA
Jorissen, Cas, et al. “Head Stabilization in Small Vertebrates That Run at High Frequencies with a Sprawled Posture.” BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, vol. 130, no. 1, 2020, pp. 195–204, doi:10.1093/biolinnean/blaa034.
APA
Jorissen, C., Paillet, E., Scholliers, J., Aerts, P., & Goyens, J. (2020). Head stabilization in small vertebrates that run at high frequencies with a sprawled posture. BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, 130(1), 195–204. https://doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/blaa034
Chicago author-date
Jorissen, Cas, Eric Paillet, Jan Scholliers, Peter Aerts, and Jana Goyens. 2020. “Head Stabilization in Small Vertebrates That Run at High Frequencies with a Sprawled Posture.” BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY 130 (1): 195–204. https://doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/blaa034.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Jorissen, Cas, Eric Paillet, Jan Scholliers, Peter Aerts, and Jana Goyens. 2020. “Head Stabilization in Small Vertebrates That Run at High Frequencies with a Sprawled Posture.” BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY 130 (1): 195–204. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/blaa034.
Vancouver
1.
Jorissen C, Paillet E, Scholliers J, Aerts P, Goyens J. Head stabilization in small vertebrates that run at high frequencies with a sprawled posture. BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY. 2020;130(1):195–204.
IEEE
[1]
C. Jorissen, E. Paillet, J. Scholliers, P. Aerts, and J. Goyens, “Head stabilization in small vertebrates that run at high frequencies with a sprawled posture,” BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, vol. 130, no. 1, pp. 195–204, 2020.
@article{8690761,
  abstract     = {Small animals face a large challenge when running. A stable head is key to maintenance of a stable gaze and a good sense of self-motion and spatial awareness. However, trunk undulations caused by the cyclic limb movements result in involuntary head movements. Hence, the head needs to be stabilized. Humans are capable of stabilizing their head up to 2-3 Hz, but small animals run at cycle frequencies that are up to six times higher. We wondered how natural selection has adapted their head stabilization control. We observed that the relative contributions of vision, on the one hand, and vestibular perception and proprioception, on the other hand, remain the same when lizards undergo fast or slow body undulations in an experimental set-up. Lizards also maintain a short phase lag at both low and high undulation frequencies. Hence, we found no indication that they use a different control mechanism at high frequencies. Instead, head stabilization probably remains possible owing to faster reflex pathways and a lower head inertia. Hence, the intrinsic physical and neurological characteristics of lizards seem to be sufficient to enable head stabilization at high frequencies, obviating the need for evolutionary adaptation of the control pathways. These properties are not unique to lizards and might, therefore, also facilitate head stabilization at high frequencies in other small, fast animals.},
  author       = {Jorissen, Cas and Paillet, Eric and Scholliers, Jan and Aerts, Peter and Goyens, Jana},
  issn         = {0024-4066},
  journal      = {BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY},
  keywords     = {VESTIBULAR SYSTEM,TRUNK,TERRESTRIAL,LOCOMOTION,MOBILITY,PERFORMANCE,MOVEMENTS,LIZARDS,MONKEYS,REFLEX,balance,body undulation,gaze stabilization,vestibular system,vision},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {195--204},
  title        = {Head stabilization in small vertebrates that run at high frequencies with a sprawled posture},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/blaa034},
  volume       = {130},
  year         = {2020},
}

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