The development of righting reflexes in the pouch young of the marsupial Dasyurus hallucatus

Dev Psychobiol. 1992 Mar;25(2):105-25. doi: 10.1002/dev.420250204.


The development of righting was studied in the young of Dasyurus hallucatus, a small marsupial from northern Australia. Young were tested from birth to weaning. Righting began at 40 days, when tactile input on the snout triggered rotation to prone. Over the next 15-20 days, asymmetrical tactile input on the body triggered righting movements by the hindlegs (and later by the forelegs). Vestibular righting reflexes developed after these tactile righting reflexes. Furthermore, asymmetrical vestibular righting (i.e., when the young are held laterally in the air) developed before symmetrical vestibular righting (i.e., when held downward by the pelvis or placed supine in water). Vestibular righting triggered by falling supine in the air did not develop until about 80 days. This study further demonstrates that righting behavior does not consist of a single, integrated motor pattern, but a suite of motor patterns having independent control mechanisms and patterns of development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology
  • Female
  • Marsupialia / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology