How cool is this?
Biomimicry—the use of nature to inspire design—is widely used by cutting-edge technologists to design everything from bullet train noses, new X-ray machines, and lighter and safer cars. But let’s take a moment to flip that idea on its head. Are there things we thought humans invented that have been later discovered in nature?
As a matter of fact, yes. Nymphs of a common insect found in Britain—Issus coeleoptratus, a species of planthopper—has what were presumably a very human creation—gears. While working at the University of Cambridge, Greg Sutton noticed a strange mechanism on the insect’s back legs. Here’s Adam Cole reporting for NPR’s Morning Edition:
There was a tiny row of bumps on the inside of each leg where it met the insect’s body. The bumps looked just like the teeth of gears. And when the planthopper jumped, they acted like gears too — as teeth meshed, the legs turned in synchrony. Sutton says his finding, published this week in Science, is the first mechanical gear system ever observed in nature.
Here's a pic from the PBS piece.
There's video at the link of the insect's legs in motion.
H/T to Wheat&Weeds.
To suggest complexity emerges given time and space absent the hand of God is to also suggest those camped out at a junk yard long enough will be rewarded by witnessing the creation and subsequent flight of a fighter jet.