Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature

How did the earliest land animals move? Scientists have used a nearly 300-million-year old fossil skeleton and preserved ancient footprints to create a moving robot model of prehistoric life.

Evolutionary biologist John Nyakatura at Humboldt University in Berlin has spent years studying a 290-million-year-old fossil dug up in central Germany’s Bromacker quarry in 2000.

Nyakatura teamed up with robotics expert Kamilo Melo at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to develop a robot model of how the creature moved. Their results were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Based on the robot test, the scientists said they think the prehistoric creature could walk more easily than previously thought for such an early land animal — more scampering than slithering.

Christina Larson, The Associated Press

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