Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Kangaroo Source

From Exploring Nature:

They cannot jump backward because of their thick, muscular tail. Their long feet and heavy tail also make walking impossible, forward or backward.


The Australian 'Coat of Arms' features an Emu and a Kangaroo:

Coat of Arms Source

Some say the kangaroo and emu were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward. This is based on the common belief that neither animal can move backwards easily.


My question:
Can kangaroos walk backwards?
Is walking backwards just difficult for them or is it anatomically impossible?

share|improve this question
2  
As well as being skeptical that they can move backwards, I'm skeptical as to whether that was the reason they were chosen. –  Andrew Grimm May 24 '11 at 22:55
1  
@Andrew - Since it's only 100 years old I also find it strange that it's not known. –  Oliver_C May 25 '11 at 10:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Kangaroos cannot move backwards easily. But they do it while fighting (YouTube, 0:35 is particularly clear where one is jumping backwards away from another).

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 for visual evidence. It looks like kangaroos depend on their tail when walking backwards. They basically use it like a "third leg". –  Oliver_C May 25 '11 at 9:57

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.