Researchers at Brown University are using X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology technology to learn about muscle contractions in humans and animals, garnering valuable information about how joints and bones move.
“The coolest things we’ve seen with XROMM are things you just absolutely can’t see from the outside,” XROMM Technology Development Project Director Beth Brainerd, who is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown, said. “XROMM is exciting because we can see what’s happening inside animals ... The range of animals is really part of the fun.”
The technology also has important implications for studying human movements -- including orthopedic research that can advance understanding about how people are injured. Furthermore, the technology can help researchers understand evolution across animals.
“If we can understand some very basic relationships between the shape of bones and the way they move, we can begin to make sense of all that animal diversity,” she said. “In the fossil record, all that we have are the shapes of bones -- but if we can come up with these form-function relationships that help us interpret bone shape in terms of the way animals move, we can then use that fossil record much more powerfully to understand the evolution of animal diversity and the species we see on Earth today with all the amazing things that they do.”
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