Postnatal development of synchronous stepping in the gerbil (Gerbillus dasyurus).

H. Blumberg-Feldman*, D. Eilam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the first two postnatal weeks, Wagner's gerbil (Gerbillus dasyurus) pups employed stepping sequences considered to be more basic than in the later stages of development and displayed alternate stepping of the legs in each girdle. In the third postnatal week, the adult mode of locomotion, the bound, became prominent and synchronous stepping dominated locomotion, gradually replacing alternate stepping. Motor performance of the gerbil pups corroborates previous studies in following a developmental motor gestalt termed 'warm-up', which involves an ordered incorporation of movements along three distinct spatial dimensions. In the present results, the validity of warm-up has been extended to a quantitative perspective: the order in which movement types reached their peak performance was identical to the order of their emergence in ontogeny. Transient modes of locomotion were also employed by gerbil pups during postnatal development, in accordance with changes in body morphology, indicating that there exists a causal link between body design and specific modes of locomotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue numberPt 2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


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