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First Gear Mechanism Discovered In Nature

timothy posted about a year ago | from the where's-the-missing-link-this-time dept.

Earth 136

GameboyRMH writes "A gear mechanism has been discovered [paywalled original paper here, for those with access] for the first time in nature in the nymph of the Issus, a small plant-hopping insect common in Europe. It uses the gears to synchronize the movement and power of its hind legs, forcing the legs to propel it in a straight line when jumping, which would otherwise be impossible for the insect if it had to control the timing and force of its leg muscles independently."

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136 comments

man is still superor... (4, Funny)

nblender (741424) | about a year ago | (#44834633)

Our contraptions have 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and sometimes higher.

Re:man is still superor... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44834831)

Yeah, but they all look the same, just different sizes.

Insect Ex Machina (2)

Maintenance Goof (1487053) | about a year ago | (#44835089)

Since some shrimp use cavitation to attack, and some bugs use timing gears to jump, seems like a good idea to watch little things more closely. We might just see something we missed.

Re:man is still superor... (2)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#44834871)

Our contraptions have 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and sometimes higher.

In fact, man is so superior, we even have contraptions with infinite gears! [wikipedia.org]

Re:man is still superor... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835069)

Still pale in comparison to the physical mechanism to replicate DNA, nothing impressive here.

Re:man is still superor... (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#44835267)

Or my favorite, the F1/F0 ATP Synthase [wikipedia.org] , which is literally a proton-powered turbine which inter-converts chemical and mechanical energy with ~97% efficiency.

Re:man is still superor... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835317)

Cool! Thanks! Will read tonight.

Re:man is still superor... (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#44836421)

The wiki page is slightly sparse, but links to this site [atpsynthase.info] and several others with more information are in the external links section. There are some really cool animations of the thing in action here [cam.ac.uk] , especially this one [cam.ac.uk] .

Re: man is still superor... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836113)

Guess you Americans still can't get the grasp of irony.

Yeah, some men are so superior they can't even spell superior.

Re: man is still superor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837085)

Yes,"American Exceptionalism" and their "Moral Superiority". And what pray tell, do they have to show for it? Putin telling them where to "Put-it" ROFL.

Evolution is gearing up for a jump! (3, Funny)

solafide (845228) | about a year ago | (#44834637)

Who knows, maybe next we'll evolve gears to help us reach those things on the top shelf better...

Re:Evolution is gearing up for a jump! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834765)

The most likely outcome will be Gears of War.

Re:Evolution is gearing up for a jump! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834857)

Nah, that's why we have people above 7 feet tall. Jumping is for suckers, just stand up and reach it.

Re:Evolution is gearing up for a jump! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834961)

Exoskeletons are kind of import to making those hard locking gears. We're not likely to go down that path.

Beside, we can make jump machines. I loved my pogo stick as a child!

B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834715)

Without a gear you can't jump in a straight line is total BS. Have you never seen a cricket or grasshopper? Independent leg control is superior in every way i can think of. I can jump sideways. Horses hind legs operate out of sync and they do really good a runinning and jumping straight.

This tripe must have been written by an idiot who didn't pay attention in school who needs a government grant to pay for his ramen.

Re:B effing S (4, Informative)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year ago | (#44834787)

I don't think you are jumping the sort of distances (relative to your size) that this insect is. The power of the jump compared to its mass is quite impressive, and apparently has special requirements. From the linked article:

" The gear teeth on the opposing hind-legs lock together like those in a car gear-box, ensuring almost complete synchronicity in leg movement - the legs always move within 30 'microseconds' of each other, with one microsecond equal to a millionth of a second.

This is critical for the powerful jumps that are this insect's primary mode of transport, as even minuscule discrepancies in synchronization between the velocities of its legs at the point of propulsion would result in "yaw rotation" - causing the Issus to spin hopelessly out of control."

Re:B effing S (0, Troll)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year ago | (#44834821)

Also, I love that people are being amazed at how evolution resulted in such intricate mechanisms. If you found a car on another planet, where humans had never been, would you assume it evolved there? Or would you think someone created it? To me, this level of detail in nature is strong evidence for creation rather than evolution.

Re:B effing S (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44834853)

You're joking right? I could see quite easily how a gear mechanism could have evolved from a simple pair of spurs.

Re:B effing S (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836651)

Of course you can - it's always easy for someone to see how something can evolve - but it's impossible for you to actually show it happening. It's funny how this mechanism is seen as essential for this organism to function, but it's the only one the mechanism has been found in so far. How many examples of a partially evolve version of this mechanism have been found so far?

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834889)

Ohh please.

Re:B effing S (-1, Offtopic)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year ago | (#44834905)

Really, mod that down as Troll? Because you don't agree?

Some open minds that folks have here... if you find a comment you disagree with, don't mod it up - but don't mod it down until they have a "-1 Disagree" option.

Re:B effing S (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834963)

It isn't modded down because someone doesn't agree. It's modded down because you'd have to be fucking stupid to believe it. The "level of detail" in this pair of insect legs is on a completely different level of mechanization from finding a car on another planet. You've shoved your head so far up your assumption that there's a God that you've taken two very different things and perceived them as equivalent in a feeble attempt to "prove" it.

Re:B effing S (2, Insightful)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year ago | (#44835023)

Then take the creature as a whole. Even such a tiny insect is absolutely as complex as a car! For that matter, every *cell* in that insect is as complex as a car - at least the mechanical components (excepting for the point of this discussion the onboard electronics / computer systems).

Oh, and at least I have the decency to avoid name calling and use of expletives... and in fact, to use my real name on comments which may be unpopular. I'm not afraid of what I believe, and I know that it is extremely unpopular on sites like this - but the truth will win out in the end (even if it is long after we are both dead).

Re:B effing S (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835203)

Then take the creature as a whole. Even such a tiny insect is absolutely as complex as a car! For that matter, every *cell* in that insect is as complex as a car - at least the mechanical components (excepting for the point of this discussion the onboard electronics / computer systems).

Oh, and at least I have the decency to avoid name calling and use of expletives... and in fact, to use my real name on comments which may be unpopular. I'm not afraid of what I believe, and I know that it is extremely unpopular on sites like this - but the truth will win out in the end (even if it is long after we are both dead).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwew5gHoh3E

If we are of divinely micromanaged origin, the divine is a slacker who takes horrible shortcuts. What are tonsils for? The Appendix? The tail we have in the womb? These are rhetorical questions. Real scientists, who rely on empirical evidence to support theory, vs. theoretical evidence to support faith, understand that following:

1) The world is flat is a false statement.
2) The world is a sphere flat is a false statement.
But the people who don't understand that #2 is LESS wrong than #1 are willful idiots.

If ylur want to believe that there is a god that kicked off the Big Bang and let it go from there, that's fine. But as soon as "He" interferes in the empirically measurable world, there goes free will and self-determination. Anyone who goes to hell is damned by their creator with no hope of redemption, as they wer created wrong. I say F that creator myth.

Re:B effing S (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#44835719)

Tonsils are part of the immune system. The function of the appendix is unknown, but informed speculation includes immune system and an obsolescent part of the digestive system once effective in high-foliage diets.

Re:B effing S (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about a year ago | (#44835319)

I thank the sysop for allowing all you bots to run with me in my dedicated simulation.

Re:B effing S (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44835813)

Let's take your car analogy and run with it. If I found a car on a planet full of self-replicating creatures that shared many features of the car, and even found very simple car components all over the place, as well as a underground record showing many iterations of creatures that eventually led to the car... then yeah, I would assume it evolved there.

Re: B effing S (5, Funny)

FuzzMaster (596994) | about a year ago | (#44835903)

Spouting unscientific nonsense in a crowd of nerds is, by definition, trolling.

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837133)

Putting your full real name on your idiotic lunacy only shows how idiotic and lunatic you are.

And arguing that your position is correct because you are a better person who doesn't use expletives is both a logical fallacy, and prideful Pharisaical phoniness that anyone who cared about the teachings of Jesus would find distasteful. Hell, I find it distasteful, and I only consider Jesus a wise man; an actual Christian would be disgusted. The petty martyrdom you're trying to put on, to please your sadistic image of God, is also a bit perverse. Enjoy Hell.

Re:B effing S (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44834971)

Some open minds that folks have here...

Not open enough for our brains to fall out.

Re:B effing S (0)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835117)

Obvious attempt to insert "creationism" THEORY on scientific crowd. Did you really expect another outcome? If so, please post your reply on a christian fundamentalist website, you will be pleased as simple minde people believe anything even remotely conected to their beliefs.

Moderators, please mod GP up (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year ago | (#44835191)

William George's post should not have been modded "Troll". I also disagree with his point (and I said as much in my own reply), but it's a plausible position to take if you're a Creationist. Posting unpopular or even unscientific opinions is not necessarily trolling.

Re:Moderators, please mod GP up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835435)

Posting unpopular or even unscientific opinions is not necessarily trolling.

Some unscientific opinions cannot be distinguished from trolling.

Re:Moderators, please mod GP up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835979)

"Plausible" being the key word there. It describes something as believable on the surface, but which is often deceptive, fallacious, or false.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plausible

1 : superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious

Creationism is not science. By definition. So if you want to bring it up in a discussion about a scientific finding, you have to be careful about how you do so. I've participated in several such mature discussions, so I know it can be done. But this doesn't cut it. WilliamGeorge was not just arrogant and insulting, he couldn't even come up with anything original to say, just the same tired fallacies and tropes. That is well deserving of being modded Troll.

Re:Moderators, please mod GP up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836051)

What does a troll do? They intentionally post inflammatory material to get a juvenile thrill out of sewing chaos and pissing people off. /. is "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." That means news of interest to nerds, and that definitely includes science, like the story posted here. Now what did William George do? He posted creationist pseudoscience in response to a science story in a forum frequented by people interested in science (and a good handful of us who actually are professional biologists and other life scientists). He's got a six figure user ID so he knew damn well how disruptive his comment would be. Just look at what has happened to the comments as a result. Troll content, troll intent, troll moderation. It's only a pity all the trolls on this thread have not yet reached -1.

Re:B effing S (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#44835481)

What you are proposing is inherintly anti science. Instead of trying to figurout why things the way they are, you would have us just accept that they are. Not only is it creationism bad science, but also lazy theology.

Re:B effing S (1)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year ago | (#44835821)

On the contrary! I greatly applaud scientific efforts to understand how things work. It helps us advance our knowledge of God's creation, and aids us in all manner of activities in life: health care, transportation, food production, etc. I also find it fascinating when discoveries are made that change the way we understand the world, and I am constantly amazed at the complexity of things we take for granted in day to day life because we cannot see them in detail easily (DNA replication, atomic interactions, etc).

One of the things I am most fascinated by is the double-slit experiment, and I look forward to someday finding out what is going on there - and so research into that, both practical and theoretical, is of great value.

The difference between my approach and that of the naturalistic scientific community is that my worldview does not require our universe to be a closed system. In a completely closed system, with no interaction from outside (past, present, or future) things we find in nature have to be interpreted in certain ways. I can see those same findings and interpret them in a way that meshes science with the activity of God - both in His initial creation of our universe, and in select interactions since then... and I find that a lot of things in life make a lot more sense with that approach. I understand that a lot of people (likely most, in a forum like Slashdot) would disagree - and I won't insult them for it. I would appreciate the same courtesy from others. [please note that I am not saying the poster above me was insulting in any way, but others in this discussion have been]

Re:B effing S (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#44836289)

"I can see those same findings and interpret them in a way that meshes science with the activity of God"

What do you think about Mr Occam?

Re:B effing S (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#44836319)

"I find that a lot of things in life make a lot more sense with that approach."

That might make for a good philosopher but has little to do with science.

Are your conjetures testable?

Re:B effing S (1)

mrprogrammerman (2736973) | about a year ago | (#44836335)

It's interesting that everyone is looking at the same evidence in nature but coming to different conclusions. Sometimes you need to ask yourself what evidence would you need for the existence of a Creator? Is there any possible evidence that could provide for the existence of a Creator?

What if a theoretical Creator wrote a letter to you saying what his name was (Psalms 83:18) and told you he was responsible for creating everything (Genesis 1:1). How about if he gave an explanation for things like why we suffer (Genesis 3:6), he explained how he was fixing the problem through his kingdom (Mathew 24:14), and that his purpose is for a future without suffering (Revelation 21:3-4). What if he made it clear he was the author of that message by stating it (2 Timothy 3:16) and then showed the ability to predict the future by showing the rise of world powers followed by his kingdom (Daniel 2:44). Certainly if someone made those claims I think it would at least be worth investigating.

According to that Creator it's possible to get more personal evidence. He claims to hear prayers (Psalms 65:2). He will answer prayers that are in harmony with his will (1 John 5:14-15). It's his will that everyone learns the truth about him (1 Timothy 2:4). Putting those ideas together, my theory is that if you pray to him he will provide the evidence and knowledge you need.

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837245)

"Is there any possible evidence that could provide for the existence of a Creator?"

Certainly. But that evidence doesn't consist of a bunch of mutually contradictory writings by a bunch of superstitious mystics.

"my theory is that if you pray to him he will provide the evidence and knowledge you need"

Sorry, but that's not a theory; it's a hypothesis. And it's been tested. I was raised as a devout Christian, and worshipped and prayed just as you say. And all I got was silence. No answers. And the only wisdom I got was that we have to find the answers ourselves. Maybe you heard voices, maybe you think you received answers. I did not. Even as much as I wanted to. So your hypothesis has been tested (by me and countless others), and I couldn't duplicate the results you predicted. So your hypothesis has been disproven, and you have no theory at all. Just a bunch of random speculation by people who lacked the intellectual tools to seek out evidence themselves.

Re:B effing S (5, Insightful)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year ago | (#44835037)

To me, this level of detail in nature is strong evidence for creation rather than evolution.

I suspect that Creationists would say the same thing about any complex biological structure. Interlocking gears are interesting because human beings manufacture similar structures, but there's nothing about them that's more miraculous than, say, a retina.

And if biologists can find fossils with more-primitive gear structures as we go back in time -- fewer teeth, less-effective interlocking, etc. -- that would actually support evolution even more, by demonstrating that it is able to produce interesting machines by gradual (and occasionally stark) mutation.

Of course, I doubt that most Creationists can ever be swayed from their opinions, no matter what scientific evidence is presented, because evidence for evolution in the fossil record is already overwhelming and yet there are still Creationists. That's the power of religion.

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835047)

Finally, somebody using this to prove intelligent design, I came here to make exact same argument (with a large sarcasm tag attached to it)
While this is pretty amazing, it is not the first or second thing in nature that is similar to designs created by humans. Some designs are just naturally more efficient; sometimes we copy nature and other times we come up with them independently (like this one). Examples: a circle, shortest route between two points, internal structure of a crane, etc.

Intricate designs like this still do not prove existence of an invisible and unobseravle supreme being. Humans used that to explain spooky natural phenomena they observed, but now that most of those are kind of explained, we no longer need to believe in fairy tale creatures. I, for one, still believe in Aliens, but at least there is some probablility of intelligent life evolving somewhere -- it is the complete lack of merit behind religion that turned me off.

Re:B effing S (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44835053)

If you found a car on another planet, where humans had never been, would you assume it evolved there?

If the materials were unrelated to any other naturally occurring material, as is a regular car (steel is not naturally occurring, nor is plastic or paint), then it would seem to be manufactured, not evolved. If you see a burn mark in a piece of toast that looks like Jesus, do you assume God put it there, or that in millions of pieces of toast cooked per day, some burns will bear some resemblance to other objects?

Re:B effing S (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44836077)

In the interest of pedantic drivel, please define "naturally occurring".

Steel, paint, and plastic are all natural if you consider humans to be an agent for natural processes. As much as protein synthesis is a natural process governed my organelles, why not the synthesis of polymers governed by animals? Is there some moment where humans are just barely smart enough that the results of their chemical processes are unnatural?

As for the original scenario, if we were to find a car on another planet, a thorough analysis must be done to determine the exact details of the situation, such as whether it's actually a car from Earth, or just something similar. Then we must check the neighboring planets for similar evidence of perhaps a failed civilization. We must also consider how such an artifact could have arrived at its resting place if it were to arrive there from somewhere else. Finally, if there is still no explanation that fits our understanding of the physical laws of the universe, we must accept that the car was placed there by means of magic.

By "magic", of course, I mean "sufficiently advanced technology", which may very well be the thoughts of a being capable of massive and precise spacetime manipulation through an as-yet-unknown means. I'm inclined to doubt it, though.

Re:B effing S (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44836407)

Steel, paint, and plastic are all natural if you consider humans to be an agent for natural processes

With that definition, there can exist nothing not-natural. As the word has a definition other than "everything" then manufacture by humans is not natural. Most would take "natural" and "manufactured" to be antonyms, but even if you don't, I can't see any reasonable argument for them being synonyms.

Re:B effing S (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835093)

DO NOT feed the troll. (rule #1 of Internet)

Re:B effing S (1, Insightful)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year ago | (#44835183)

To me, this level of detail in nature is strong evidence for creation rather than evolution.

To me, this level of idiotic thinking is strong evidence of mental incompetence.

Can't explain something in under ten seconds? Well then, God must have done it.

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835275)

It's not strong evidence for creation in any way. To attribute this kind of detail to intentional creation doesn't explain anything, all it does is open up even more questions. Hence: Troll.

Re:B effing S (2)

e_armadillo (14304) | about a year ago | (#44835425)

Or is it like the Babel fish in HHG? Proof of the opposite?

Quote:
                The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
                "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments,
                you don't. QED."
                "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
End Quote

Re:B effing S (1)

Kahlandad (1999936) | about a year ago | (#44835461)

You are making the assertion that these gear-like structures are proof of a creator, so how do you differentiate between living structures that are created and living structures that evolved? These particular structures are proof? How so? How do you define complexity and what order of complexity is the threshold for what could have evolved and what you assert must have been created?

In order for this to be accepted as proof by anyone other than yourself and your cult, you need to provide detail and methodology that can be used to complete testable research. Until then, it's nothing more than your assertion that somehow you are capable of looking at morphological structures and making the determination as to what had to be created by the finger of god and what is "too simple" to have required divine intervention.

Again, how do you tell the difference between a living structure that was designed and one that evolved?

Re:B effing S (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44835543)

To me, this level of detail in nature is strong evidence for creation rather than evolution.

That's because it's easy to imagine a Creator just appearing magically all at once but having life evolve itself over billions of years is just too weird.
I'm serious. That's really the belief.
A creator can self-evolve or self-appear, but nothing less is allowed to in their limited little pantheon of belief.

Of course, they also have to ignore the creation of death, disease, famine and Republicans.

Re:B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835563)

May be evidence for creation, but it's not anywhere near enough to be satisfactory. And then, let's imagine we do reach a 3 sigma level of confidence, we still don't know who did it. That would require further proof - a book writen for political reasons (regardless of which one you have in mind) is not proof. Hell, even a 1 sigma level of confidence in creation would get everybody here scratching their heads and jumping with joy for science!

Re:B effing S (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#44835795)

I'm confused, Are you suggesting that gods create cars, or that aliens create insects?

Or were you just stretching for a car analogy?

Re:B effing S (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about a year ago | (#44836327)

Yep. Too bad it took a shitload of scientists to find the "creation".

Re:B effing S (5, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44835007)

..and here is a video [youtube.com] of the gears in action.

Re: B effing S (5, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44834805)

The Synopsis was a little lacking in detail. Namely, the gear configuration for the legs on this adolescent insect allowed it to jump faster and further than it would normally be able to do safely. Through use of the gear configuration, it allowed the adolescent insect to develop it's nervous system to adapt to acceleration to 400g while it's muscular structure and carapace developed, at which point the years are shed. Basically, these are training wheels, not that they are inherently better. What is interesting is that the gear design is quite different than what we humans have created, and allows for highly effective forward momentum with minimal energy expenditure at the expense of reverse.

Re: B effing S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837273)

So we should put it in motorcycles.

Re:B effing S (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44834813)

Wow, congratulations, you proved all etymologists wrong with three seconds of thought.

Or maybe there's something special about this insect that gives it an extra need for stability. (Hint, there is, read the article. What, didn't your private school teach you to read?)

Re:B effing S (4, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44835021)

Wow, congratulations, you proved all etymologists wrong with three seconds of thought.

Etymologists? [xkcd.com]

Re:B effing S (5, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44834895)

Have you never seen a cricket or grasshopper?

Yes. They have stabilizers. This little bug doesn't, thus needs more accurate jumping.

Re:B effing S (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about a year ago | (#44835483)

A horse is airborne for maybe 1 or two lengths of its body at most. This bug can jump hundreds of times its own body length. infinitesimal errors in the timing of one leg or the other (i.e., not in perfect sync) has a much more drastic effect over those distances. (a millisecond off one way or the other means the difference between landing on target, and landing several inches or feet off target.)

Re:B effing S (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#44836371)

"a millisecond off one way or the other means the difference between landing on target, and landing several inches or feet off target."

Do you really think they aim for a target when they jump?

Funny.

Transformers (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44834767)

One of the original origin stories for the Transformers was that they evolved from naturally occurring pulleys and gears. IIRC it was used in the comics, until they retconned it.

picture (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44834791)

If you look at the picture of the thing [phys.org] , it's pretty amazing. Each gear strip is 400 micrometers long.

Zoolander (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834843)

If you look at the picture of the thing [phys.org] , it's pretty amazing. Each gear strip is 400 micrometers long.

What is this? A car for ants?

Re:picture (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44835379)

Indeed. 10 to 12 gears, with a 1:1 gear ratio.

The cool part?

"Unlike man-made gears, each gear tooth is asymmetrical and curved towards the point where the cogs interlock - as man-made gears need a symmetric shape to work in both rotational directions, whereas the Issus gears are only powering one way to launch the animal forward."

Re:picture (1)

prescientmemories (3070615) | about a year ago | (#44836487)

If you look really carefully, you can see a stamp on the gear that says 'Made in China'

Science rules! ... or not? (4, Funny)

paavo512 (2866903) | about a year ago | (#44834819)

Extra credit for the article to put 'microseconds' in quotes! And then explain what it means. Whoa, so we can introduce entire generations in science who have not mastered difficult concepts like 'zero' before (http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1997-02-27/ [dilbert.com] ).

Re:Science rules! ... or not? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44834957)

Probably the quotes were meant for the fans of intelligent design that went in flocks to read the article.

Re:Science rules! ... or not? (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835211)

Or in a backward country that consider the metric system as necessary to teach...

Re:Science rules! ... or not? (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44835223)

posted too quickly, need a "don't" after "that". TY and sorry.

Re:Science rules! ... or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835415)

Well the quotes were mainly to find other things tagged with microseconds, but yeah, the explanation saddened me.

Phys.org got filled with so many morons over the years.
Seriously, the comment sections read like a youtube videos comments that mentions "free" and "power" in the title.
ALL ABOUT THE OVER-UNITY DESPITE IT BEING A SOLAR PANEL OR WIND GENERATOR... or something else.
God, where did all these over-unity people come from, why do they exist, but more importantly, why do they have to flock to good sites and channels and ruin them?

I'm more saddened at the lack of any scientific knowledge in average people though.
Science isn't any harder to remember than words, the teachers are the ones that ruin it for so many though.
Monotonous education methods do not work and never will work, especially when there is no forcing it in with painful punishments for not accepting it like there used to be decades back with people getting slapped with canes and the like.
Ever since that stopped, everything went to shit. All that stuff in the 60s isn't even a spit of rain compared to now.
Lack of discipline, respect and care for anything. The little shits deserve a beating for stepping out of line.
Yeah, you like angry birds, eh, you like them? Here is a angry eagle that hasn't been fed much and taught to attack anything that moves, lesson begins, see you in 50 minutes class.

Well, that got dark. Time to go play some happy games.

Bullshit! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834841)

forcing the legs to propel it in a straight line when jumping, which would otherwise be impossible for the insect if it had to control the timing and force of its leg muscles independently."

Bullshit. The brains of most animals including even the most primitive insects allow them to control the timing of their muscles enough to jump in straight lines. In fact, having the legs tied together by a gear would seem to be an impediment, most especially if there is ever any physical damage to the legs or feet.

Some of these research articles of late seem to have no respect for the basics of nature that the layman seems to have been taking for granted since the beginning.

Re:Bullshit! (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44834897)

I thought about quoting the relevant part of TFA on this in the summary, but didn't....what a mistake.

Anyway you can read it to find out why you're wrong in the case of this insect.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44835167)

The advantage of gears over nerve signals is that neural-toxins from poison enemies wouldn't be able to mess up the leg timing.

Re:Bullshit! (3, Informative)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44835583)

Some of these research articles of late seem to have no respect for the basics of nature that the layman seems to have been taking for granted since the beginning.

If you're going to whine about an article, at least read it. The gears help it react faster than any sort of nerve impulse could.
And they also suggest at the end that the reason larva have gears but not adults is because larva molt.
They theorize that adults do not have gears because any sort of fracture is permanent and fractures seem likely over a period of sustained use.

Full text as PDF (5, Informative)

pdfbuddy (3070119) | about a year ago | (#44834865)

You can read the paper's full text here: http://freepdfhosting.com/292b7f1c8f.pdf [freepdfhosting.com] Some highlights: On page 2, there are some great images of the gears in action. Do check them out! Your friend, pdfbuddy.

Re:Full text as PDF (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44834943)

Thanks pdfbuddy!

Re:Full text as PDF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835457)

You're not my friend, I don't know you, nobody knows or cares who you are, and they never will because you're commenting on some random ass website. You don't matter. Your comment doesn't matter.

Thanks for the link, Anonymous.

Gears? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44834869)

Gears?

Looking at the photo of an Issus on the Phys.org link, I'm more interested in the jet propulsion the little bugger appears to be using.

First, really? Whap happended to flagellum? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834921)

Wrap up here: http://dennisdjones.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/irreducible-complexity/

Re:First, really? Whap happended to flagellum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835509)

There are many different flagella, flagella are not motors except by analogy, and irreducible complexity was first predicted to be a possible outcome of evolution way back in 1918.

Boring... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835065)

That's not impressive. Call me when you find an insect that has evolved a clutch.

System only works for juveniles. (1)

mindwanderer (1169521) | about a year ago | (#44835095)

"It's not yet known why the Issus loses its hind-leg gears on reaching adulthood"

Issus wives can really grind your gears.

Painful (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44835131)

Microseconds has to be in single quotes, and defined in the same sentence it is used. That's ignoring that fact that it is also, apparently, a tag. *sigh*

If we keep looking... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44835133)

Next up: a bug that has Linux. (Not just Linux that has bugs)

Re:If we keep looking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835395)

In FOSSoviet Russia bugs have linux...

I hope that bug has a good lawyer (0, Troll)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year ago | (#44835277)

Apple already patented "a method of locomotion involving jumpy-springy gear-type thingamajigs or whatnot" and if the bug doesn't have a sizable patent portfolio for negotiating purposes, it's going to have to start walking around like everyone else. Also, the corners on that carapace are looking suspiciously rounded.

Created by God and discovered by men (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835387)

"All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life: and the life was the light of men." John 1:2-3

believenot.com [believenot.com]

Outboard Motors in Bacteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835429)

It's already been known that bacteria have an "outboard motor":

https://preachrr.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/flagellar_motor.jpg

https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/bacteria-with-outboard-motors/

Re:Outboard Motors in Bacteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835679)

If I want to know the finer points of theology, I'll ask a member of the clergy. If I want to know the finer points of biology, I'll ask a biologist [millerandlevine.com] .

Re: Outboard Motors in Bacteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836753)

are you suggesting disciplines never cross? philosophy has nothing to do with math, etc. That's a tired result of the influence of logical positivism.

What? (1)

Alter_3d (948458) | about a year ago | (#44835491)

No car analogy?

Nature is the best innovator over time, bar none. (5, Informative)

Banichi (1255242) | about a year ago | (#44835591)

There exists a Weevil with a screw as a leg joint.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonopterus_oblongus [wikipedia.org]

Nature is absolutely awesome.

Re:Nature is the best innovator over time, bar non (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837073)

I'm also surprised nobody mentioned insects like leaf cutter ants that have a cogged gearing interface in their mandibles that help with a rolling cutting motion or some other invertibrates like crabs that have it in rasping mouthparts. Apparently being able to use mechanical advantage is handy no matter what size you are, so evolution should favor it provided a chance mutation makes it available.

what I want to know is how do paramecium (2)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#44836199)

synchronize their cilia? I have watched them under stroboscopic illumination and there are wave-like patterns in the motion, similar to what you see when a centipede runs across the floor. Paramecia are single celled and have no nerves, no muscles. How do they synchronize the motion of those hundreds (or thousands) of cilia? Is it simply cascading chemical reactions?

Trying to determine timezone of /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836549)

What time is it?

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