Creature with Interlocking Gears on Legs Discovered - via
Gears are ubiquitous in the man-made world, found in items ranging from wristwatches to car engines, but it seems that nature invented them first.
A species of plant-hopping insect, Issus coleoptratus, is the first living creature known to possess functional gears, a new study finds. The two interlocking gears on the insect’s hind legs help synchronize the legs when the animal jumps.
"To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first demonstration of functioning gears in any animal," said study researcher Malcolm Burrows, an emeritus professor of neurobiology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Burrows and a colleague captured the gears’ motion using high-speed video. As the young bug prepares to leap, it meshes the gear teeth of one leg with those of the other, like cocking a gun. Then, the insect releases its legs in one smooth, explosive motion.
Image: Malcolm Burrows
[See Video: http://goo.gl/CcZhLz ]
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