Flamingo research shows birds use one-legged stance to relax

Flamingos can stand on one leg for a really long time. They even do it while sleeping.

Because science has yet to provide a definitive answer, Lena Ting and fellow researcher Young-Hui Chang investigated how flamingos are able to stand and sleep on one leg so easily for so long. Ting is a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University and Georgia Tech who studies balance control in humans and mammals. Dr. Ting is also a faculty member in the NS program.

Their findings, published in Biology Letters, suggest a reason that differs from most previous suggestions: it's about reducing muscular effort.

Potential applications stretch from better robotics, orthopedic braces, and artificial limbs, to more focused treatments for neurological or balance problems.

Click here to view the full story in the Emory News Center. The story was also featured in The Conversation and The New York Times.