this video shows what they are capable of

this video shows what they are capable of

Living in the tops of the tallest trees in the world must be quite dizzying. Unless you’re one salamander. They are not afraid because they have an infallible trick in case they have to run away: a body that turns into a parachute Instantly.

This is the conclusion of a study recently published in Current Biology from scientists at the University of South Florida. In it, used a wind tunnel in which they dropped some copies of arboreal or non-arboreal salamanders from a low height. It was much more ethical and simple than pushing them from the tops of the redwoods where some of them live.

Thus, they verified that although salamanders do not have any structure that apparently serves as a parachute, they are capable of shaping their body to glide in the same way as if they were clinging to one. It is a very interesting finding, which has not only given rise to a very nice video. It also shows that animals have more tools than we might think to survive falls from great heights. There may be many others for whom we have not even imagined it.

A wind tunnel to imitate the redwoods

The wandering salamanders (Aneides vagrans) usually live in the canopy of redwood trees in Canada and the United States. Some species of these trees can exceed 100 meters in heighthence they are known as the highest in the world.

Although they are comfortable being a little closer to heaven than the most land animals, sometimes they can feel so threatened that they have no choice but to jump into the void. If we did it, it would be certain death. Unless we had a parachute, of course.

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Sequoias can reach more than 100 meters in height

With this premise in mind, the authors of the study that has just been published decided to check whether these salamanders have structures that function as parachutesyes So they prepared a vertical wind tunnelin which the fall of the canopy of trees such as sequoias is simulated.

Once prepared, specimens of arboreal and non-arboreal salamanders were put into it and dropped. Unlike in the trees, the height was not deadly, so there was no danger to salamanders. But they could also see what his trick is to survive the fall from the top of the redwoods.

The makeshift parachute of salamanders

In the case of arboreal salamanders, falling speed reduced by 10% from the moment they pulled out their makeshift parachute. Basically the difference between surviving the fall or dying from it.

It was no gimmick, just a few moves very pertinent to the occasion. amphibians stretched out their legs and tail so that they could glide, as we humans do when we parachute. But without any additional elements.

When gliding, falling speed reduced by 10%

It is not the first time that arboreal animals have been seen with ability to plan. For example, it is common in some squirrels. However, the constitution of salamanders did not lead to think that they had this ability. Therefore, this result encourages its authors to continue searching.

In the end, the climate change will increasingly deplete ecosystems of these and other animals, so it is vital to understand how they function in their environment. It is the best way to protect them without altering their way of life more than global warming is already doing.