- Prison Planet.com - http://www.prisonplanet.com -

Found: The First Mechanical Gear in a Living Creature Read more: The First Gear Discovered in Nature

Posted By admin On September 13, 2013 @ 3:53 am In Sci Tech | Comments Disabled

William Herkewitz
Popular Mechanics [1]
September 13, 2013

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.”

The researchers believe that the issus—which lives chiefly on European climbing ivy—evolved its acrobatic prowess because it needs to flee dangerous situations. Although they’re not exactly sure if the rapid jump evolved to escape hungry birds, parasitizing wasps, or the careless mouths of large grazing animals, “there’s been enormous evolutionary pressure to become faster and faster, and jump further and further away,” Burrows says. But gaining this high acceleration has put incredible demands on the reaction time of insect’s body parts, and that’s where the gears—which “you can imagine being at the top of the thigh bone in a human,” Burrows says—come in.

Found: The First Mechanical Gear in a Living Creature  Read more: The First Gear Discovered in Nature 6Mexj9 [2]

Found: The First Mechanical Gear in a Living Creature  Read more: The First Gear Discovered in Nature ycI1mA  [3]

Full story here. [1]


Article printed from Prison Planet.com: http://www.prisonplanet.com

URL to article: http://www.prisonplanet.com/found-the-first-mechanical-gear-in-a-living-creature-read-more-the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature-15916433?click=pm_latest&utm_content=bufferdc26b&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer

[2] Image: http://makeagif.com/6Mexj9

[3] Image: http://makeagif.com/ycI1mA

[4] What The Heck Is This Terrifying Creature Found Under The Brooklyn Bridge?: http://www.prisonplanet.com/what-the-heck-is-this-terrifying-creature-found-under-the-brooklyn-bridge.html

[5] Genetically Modified Nature: GM Salmon Under Attack By Concerned Experts: http://www.prisonplanet.com/genetically-modified-nature-gm-salmon-under-attack-by-concerned-experts.html

[6] Tweeting the word ‘drill’ could mean your Twitter account is read by U.S. government spies: http://www.prisonplanet.com/tweeting-the-word-drill-could-mean-your-twitter-account-is-read-by-u-s-government-spies.html

[7] Computers that Read Minds Are Being Developed by Intel: http://www.prisonplanet.com/computers-that-read-minds-are-being-developed-by-intel.html

[8] Professor of Mechanical Engineering Estimates that 4 Million Gallons of Oil are Leaking Every Day: http://www.prisonplanet.com/professor-of-mechanical-engineering-estimates-that-4-million-gallons-of-oil-are-leaking-every-day.html

Copyright © 2013 PrisonPlanet.com. All rights reserved.