An old Scottish myth has it that the wild haggis (given the fitting taxonomic moniker Haggis scoticus ) is a small fictitious creature (although many folks visiting Scotland believe they are real) that has legs that are longer on one side than the other. There are two varieties: in one the right fore and hind limb are shorter and the other, of course, the left. The asymmetry helps the haggis to circumnavigate the steep mountainsides of its native terrain, but only in a clockwise (if the right legs are short) or counter clockwise (if the left legs are short) direction, so as to not roll down the steep hillside and come to an untimely death; this is purported to be one of the reasons for their near extinction (the other was the introduction of sheep).
The two species coexist peacefully but are unable to interbreed in the wild because in order for the male of one variety to mate with a female of the other, he must turn to face in the same direction as his intended mate, causing him to lose his balance before he can mount her. As a result of this difficulty, differences in leg length among the haggis population are further accentuated, as is there dwindling numbers.
It’s an amusing concept, but unfortunately there’s a non-mythical human corollary: Leg-length discrepancies (LLDs), which do not discriminate and affect a wide variety of people, including children with cerebral palsy, people who’ve had hip and knee replacements, and those with scoliosis, pelvic obliquity, or certain muscle contractures/dysfunctions.
Haggis is actually a Scottish dish; lungs and liver of a sheep cooked with other ingredients inside its stomach. Yum (Not!) We are not sure why or how the two are related but it does make for an interesting post : )
Learn more about LLD’s and their compensations by joining us Wednesday, April 17th 5 PST, 6MST, 7CST and 8 EST on onlinece.com: Biomechanics 307
Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys
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