January 14, 2014

The First Gear Discovered in Nature

A tiny little insect can accelerate at 400 G's with a special set of ... gears.
With two diminutive legs locked into a leap-ready position, the tiny jumper bends its body taut like an archer drawing a bow. At the top of its legs, a minuscule pair of gears engage—their strange, shark-fin teeth interlocking cleanly like a zipper. And then, faster than you can blink, think, or see with the naked eye, the entire thing is gone. In 2 milliseconds it has bulleted skyward, accelerating at nearly 400 g's—a rate more than 20 times what a human body can withstand. At top speed the jumper breaks 8 mph—quite a feat considering its body is less than one-tenth of an inch long.

This miniature marvel is an adolescent issus, a kind of planthopper insect and one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. As a duo of researchers in the U.K. report today in the journal Science, the issus also the first living creature ever discovered to sport a functioning gear. "Jumping is one of the most rapid and powerful things an animal can do," says Malcolm Burrows, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge and the lead author of the paper, "and that leads to all sorts of crazy specializations."


Doom said...

I've seen this report recently.

To my way of thinking, when I see things unique in the "animal" kingdom... Each one makes me doubt evolution more and more. Evolution would tend to be "looking for" a perfect species and trying to get rid of the things that don't work.

Nature, without God, would be trying to make the one species that doesn't need any other. It is efficiency based, and geared toward survival. It is not a multiculture pushing social worker. It would be what liberals do, not what they say. Thankfully, for the rest of us, there is God. He does keep the balance.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Once again I find myself so happy I'm here learning more of the worlds wonders.

sig94 said...

Doom - Amen to that.

sig94 said...

Odie - I gotta spend more time looking for things like this rather than tearing my guts out over the machinations of the criminals running our government.

Kid said...

I could move that fast if I only weighed that much.