How sticky toepads evolved in geckos


scientists have a good understanding of how geckos stick at the microscopic level


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While scientists have a good understanding of how geckos stick at the microscopic level, they are just beginning to understand how geckos use their adhesive toepads to move around complex environments in the wild. Learning how gecko toepads have evolved to move in nature is an important step in developing robotic technologies that can do similar things. “It’s one thing to stick and unstick a piece of ‘gecko tape’ to a smooth surface in a lab, but something else altogether to get a robotic gecko to move across a complicated landscape in the real world and stick to all the different shapes and textures it will encounter,” says Gamble. Examining the repeated evolution of gecko toepads will let scientists find common ways natural selection solved these problems and focus on the characteristics shared across different gecko species.

  • It seems that information could be gained from observing living geckos without knowing anything about a presumed evolutionary history.



  • Sponge semiconductors:  Evolution appeared in the title of another biomimetics article, this time on New Scientist: “Evolution could generate new semiconducting structures.”  Here, evolutionary theory was not claimed to provide insight on how to design things, as in the previous article.  Instead, the engineers look at sponges and their proteins, and then thought they could do better.  They randomly varied the proteins with the goal of discovering structures useful for the semiconductor industry.  This is another case of artificial selection, therefore – not undirected, unguided, purposeless evolution in the Darwinian sense.  It’s like cattle breeding; i.e., intelligent design.

    • Sponge semiconductors:  Evolution appeared in the title of another biomimetics article, this time on New Scientist: “Evolution could generate new semiconducting structures.”  Here, evolutionary theory was not claimed to provide insight on how to design things, as in the previous article.  Instead, the engineers look at sponges and their proteins, and then thought they could do better.  They randomly varied the proteins with the goal of discovering structures useful for the semiconductor industry.  This is another case of artificial selection, therefore – not undirected, unguided, purposeless evolution in the Darwinian sense.  It’s like cattle breeding; i.e., intelligent design.



    Self-assembling proteins:  Another biomimetics article on Science Daily gave evolution only a brief, passing mention.  In this story, researchers at the University of Montreal came up with a better way to visualize how proteins self-assemble in living cells.  “Enabling bioengineers to design new molecular machines for nanotechnology applications is one of the possible outcomes” of the study – that’s the biomimetics angle.  What’s the evolution angle or contribution to understanding?

    • Self-assembling proteins:  Another biomimetics article on Science Daily gave evolution only a brief, passing mention.  In this story, researchers at the University of Montreal came up with a better way to visualize how proteins self-assemble in living cells.  “Enabling bioengineers to design new molecular machines for nanotechnology applications is one of the possible outcomes” of the study – that’s the biomimetics angle.  What’s the evolution angle or contribution to understanding?

    • Proteins are made of long linear chains of amino acids, which have evolved over millions of years to self-assemble extremely rapidly — often within thousandths of a split second — into a working nanomachine.



    Someone joked that a Senator is someone who looks which way the crowd is going, runs up to the front of the line and declares himself their leader.  That’s what Senator Charlie D. from Down-Down-Down House is trying to do.  He’s leading a shrinking band of disciples down the hill to the Museum of Has-Beens.

    • Someone joked that a Senator is someone who looks which way the crowd is going, runs up to the front of the line and declares himself their leader.  That’s what Senator Charlie D. from Down-Down-Down House is trying to do.  He’s leading a shrinking band of disciples down the hill to the Museum of Has-Beens.



    Darwinists, keep your grubby hands off of biomimetics.  It doesn’t belong to you.  You have nothing to contribute.  If you want us to believe that geckos evolved toes so well designed they use Van der Waals atomic forces to stick to ceilings, and not only that, but did it 11 times independently, then we will thank you (for the funny joke).  If you want to tell us that evolution produced proteins that assemble within thousandths of a split second into working nanomachines by chance over millions of years, sayonara.

    • Darwinists, keep your grubby hands off of biomimetics.  It doesn’t belong to you.  You have nothing to contribute.  If you want us to believe that geckos evolved toes so well designed they use Van der Waals atomic forces to stick to ceilings, and not only that, but did it 11 times independently, then we will thank you (for the funny joke).  If you want to tell us that evolution produced proteins that assemble within thousandths of a split second into working nanomachines by chance over millions of years, sayonara.



    The rapid rise of biomimetics over the last decade is a sign that people are tired of useless just-so stories.  Real cutting-edge science for the 21st century, on the rise in both medical genetics and biomimetics, is based on the implicit assumption that natural structures are intelligently designed and full of potential for enlightenment, wonder, invention, benefit, application, and progress.

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