The jerboa are ridiculous cute desert rodents found in Africa and Asia. They’re related to the common mouse, but their bone structure has evolved to allow them to jump huge distances for their size (three feet straight up!). In this video by Science Friday, researcher Kim Cooper and video producer Christian Baker explain how studying these small, furry creatures can help us understand all mammal bodies.
“We’re all built basically the same way,” Cooper says. “If we can understand the mechanisms that allow the jerboa to develop their hind limbs, those are probably the same fundamental principles that shape our bodies.”