JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Studying the locomotion of baby loggerhead sea turtles is providing clues for the development of robots over varying terrain, scientists in Georgia said.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology are studying how the newly hatched turtles move quickly from underground nests across sand, rigid surfaces and dune grass to reach the ocean.
The results will help roboticists determine the type of appendages necessary to move effectively, said physicist Daniel Goldman, noting the turtles have just a flat mitt and a claw.
On hard surfaces, the turtles push forward by digging a claw on their flipper into the ground so they won't slip and on loose sand they advance by pushing off against a solid region of sand that forms behind their flippers, Goldman wrote in a recent issue of the journal Biology Letters.
Goldman and associate Nicole Mazouchova joined with colleagues at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to study hatchlings at Jekyll Island on the coast of Georgia.