Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The fibular meniscus of the kangaroo as an adaptation against external tibial rotation during saltatorial locomotion

Miller, A.C., Cake, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0072-9024 and Warburton, N.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-8498-3053 (2017) The fibular meniscus of the kangaroo as an adaptation against external tibial rotation during saltatorial locomotion. Journal of Anatomy, 231 (6). pp. 931-938.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


The kangaroo knee is, as in other species, a complex diarthrodial joint dependent on interacting osseous, cartilaginous and ligamentous components for its stability. While principal load bearing occurs through the femorotibial articulation, additional lateral articulations involving the fibula and lateral fabella also contribute to the functional arrangement. Several fibrocartilage and ligamentous structures in this joint remain unexplained or have been misunderstood in previous studies. In this study, we review the existing literature on the structure of the kangaroo 'knee' before providing a new description of the gross anatomical and histological structures. In particular, we present strong evidence that the previously described 'femorofibular disc' is best described as a fibular meniscus on the basis of its gross and histological anatomy. Further, we found it to be joined by a distinct tendinous tract connecting one belly of the m. gastrocnemius with the lateral meniscus, via a hyaline cartilage cornu of the enlarged lateral fabella. The complex of ligaments connecting the fibular meniscus to the surrounding connective tissues and muscles appears to provide a strong resistance to external rotation of the tibia, via the restriction of independent movement of the proximal fibula. We suggest this may be an adaptation to resist the rotational torque applied across the joint during bipedal saltatory locomotion in kangaroos.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Copyright: © 2017 Anatomical Society
Item Control Page Item Control Page