Short Communication


, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 351-354

First online:

Horses and cows might teach us about human knees

  • C. HollandAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of OxfordDepartment of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield
  • , F. VollrathAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Oxford Email author 
  • , H. S. GillAffiliated withNuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Nuffield Orthopaedic CentreDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath

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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 analysis Osteoarthritis Cartilage