Learn more physics!
Why do camels have large feet?
- Jinder (age 13)
Camels have big feet for a very good reason. Their big feet help keep
them from sinking into the sand. Our feet are much much smaller than a
camel's feet. When you walk on a sandy beach, your feet will sink into
the sand a little bit. The big camel feet spread out over more sand so
it won't sink down as far.
(republished on 07/18/06)
Follow-Up #1: Bed of nails
Is this the same reason why people can lie on a bed of nails?
- Jack (age 13)
Yes, for the most part. You can lie on a bed of nails if no one nail presses on you with sufficient force to puncture your skin. If a lot of nails share your weight, this situation can be accomplished. If you try to stand up on a bed of nails, fewer nails are involved and you could get hurt. Dull nails also help. Do not try a bed of pins -- even a small force can push a pin into your skin, but a nail has a tougher time unless itís very sharp.
Lots of care has to be taken with the bed of nails. While weight is one force, there can be others, such as what you need to apply to get yourself positioned on the bed of nails and off again. Rolling over on your side may require some sideways forces, causing lacerations and tearing of skin. Getting on and off may involve momentarily transferring weight onto a small number of nails.
(published on 10/14/06)
Follow-up on this answer.