Plantigrade Locomotion

What is plantigrade locomotion?

Plantigrade locomotion is the way some animals walk with their toes and metatarsals (heels) flat on the ground.

Terrestrial (land) mammals have three ways of walking:

(1) digitigrade (walking on their toes with their heels permanently raised),

(2) unguligrade (walking on the nail of their toes – the hoof – with the heel permanently raised), and 

(3) plantigrade (walking with their toes and heels on the ground).

The leg of a plantigrade mammal includes the bones of the upper leg, called the femur and humerus, and the bones of the lower leg, called the metatarsals and metacarpals. 

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Dusky Pademelon

The Dusky Pademelon (Thylogale brunii) is a small macropod marsupial mammal. It belongs in the Macropodidae family of big-footed mammals. It is also known as the Dusky Wallaby or the Aru Island Wallaby. 

The Dusky Pademelon looks like a mini-kangaroo. It is a stocky marsupial with brown fur with light patches and a white underbelly. It has large ears, a black nose and large brown eyes. It has a short, flat tail. It has two big hind (back) feet with two smaller front feet that act like hands. Its paws are dark-brown to black, with sharp claws. 

It grows to about 50 centimetres (20 inches) tall, with a tail measuring about 50 centimetres (20 inches). 

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Platypus

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic monotreme (egg-laying) marsupial (pouched) mammal. It is also known as the Duck-Billed Platypus.

The Platypus has a duck-like beak, webbed feet with sharp claws like an otter, an elongated mole-like body, and a broad, flat, beaver-like tail. Its waterproof fur is brown with a whitish underbelly. The male has a venomous spur on it hind (back) feet. The female has a spur, but it is not venomous. It has small brown eyes and small nostrils. 

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Red-Necked Wallaby

The Red-Necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus) is a medium-sized macropod marsupial mammal. Macropod means big feet, and a marsupial mammal has a pouch for its baby. It is also known as the Bennett’s Wallaby.

The Red-Necked Wallaby is a stocky marsupial with reddish fur on its neck and shoulders, a black nose, a flat tail, two big hind (back) feet, black paws, and a white stripe on its upper lip. The rest of its body has soft grey fur.  

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Common Brushtail Possum

The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is an Australian and New Zealand marsupial mammal. Trichosurus Vulpecula means furry tailed little fox, but it is not a fox, and it is not related to the fox.

The Common Brushtail Possum is silver-grey, brown, black, or a golden colour, with large pointed ears and an extremely bushy tail that can wrap around branches. Its inner ears and nose are pink. It has short, fine black whiskers, and big, round brown eyes. Its feet have sharp claws with a strong grip.

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Tasmanian Tiger

The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is an extinct Australian marsupial mammal. It was also called Tasmanian Wolf. It was not a tiger, nor a wolf, nor a dog (canid). It was a dog-like animal with stripes called a Thylacine. Extinct means that it is no longer living. The species has died out.

The Tasmanian Tiger was sandy-coloured with short soft hair and dark stripes on its back and its long tail. It had a pouch (similar to kangaroos and other marsupial mammals) to care for its young. Both male and female Tasmanian Tigers had a pouch, but only females had mammary glands in her pouch. It has a dog-like snout, round ears, and dark eyes. It had dog-like paws.

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Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a marsupial mammal from Tasmania, Australia. It is a dasyurid.

The Tasmanian Devil has black fur with irregular white patches on its chest and rump. It has a muscular build with a large head, thick neck, and a medium-sized thick tail. Similar to a hyena, its front legs are slightly longer than its back legs. It has five long toes on its front feet and four toes on its back feet, with long non-retractable claws. It has long whiskers on its face.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Koala

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal (tree-living) marsupial, found in eastern and southern coastal Australia. It is related to the wombat. It is not a bear.

The Koala has soft, short silver-grey to brown fur. It is a rounded, short animal with a large head with round, fluffy ears. Its underbelly is white. It has no tail. Its nose is black and distinct, and covered with leathery skin. It has curved, sharp claws for climbing trees. The first and second digits on its fore-paws are opposable, enabling it to grasp tree branches. The second and third digits on the hind-paws are fused together. Males have chest glands, which are visible.

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Eastern Grey Kangaroo

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is a marsupial mammal found in southern and eastern Australia. Macropus means big feet.

It is about 2 metres (6.6 feet) tall, and is not as tall as the Red Kangaroo. It is the second largest and heaviest living marsupial and native land mammal in Australia.

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo has soft grey fur with a lighter coloured stomach. They have muscular long tails, strong back legs, large feet, short fur and long, pointed ears. Like all marsupials, females have pouches that contain mammary glands, where their young joey lives.

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