, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 351–354

Horses and cows might teach us about human knees


  • C. Holland
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Oxford
    • Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Sheffield
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Oxford
  • H. S. Gill
    • Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal SciencesUniversity of Oxford, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Bath
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-014-1163-5

Cite this article as:
Holland, C., Vollrath, F. & Gill, H.S. Naturwissenschaften (2014) 101: 351. doi:10.1007/s00114-014-1163-5


Our comparative study of the knees of horses and cows (paraphrased as highly evolved joggers and as domesticated couch-potatoes, respectively) demonstrates significant differences in the posterior sections of bovine and equine tibial cartilage, which are consistent with specialisation for gait. These insights were possible using a novel analytical measuring technique based on the shearing of small biopsy samples, called dynamic shear analysis. We assert that this technique could provide a powerful new tool to precisely quantify the pathology of osteoarthritis for the medical field.


Dynamic shear analysisOsteoarthritisCartilage

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014