#1 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, September 16th, 2013 13:12
#2 By: Cary, September 16th, 2013 13:34
Hmmm, how will creationists spin this???
#3 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, September 16th, 2013 14:01
Dude's a steampunk, obviously. Creating the entire coal-fired Victorian period and insects with mechanist gear-legs? Both of which live in a Newtonian (well, post-Newtonian Newton school, if you feel picky like that) clockwork universe? I rest my case.
#4 By: Jason Andresen, September 16th, 2013 14:04
Clearly perfect gears could not have been evolved. That would be like a rock suddenly turning into spring. Therefore evolution must be a lie.
#5 By: bobo, September 16th, 2013 16:18
ummm, probably that the man in the clouds designed the insect that way???
#6 By: sockdoll, September 16th, 2013 17:07
Maybe it's already been noted elsewhere, but the mechanism reminds me of the rack-and-pinion design in some mechanical corkscrews.
#7 By: Boundegar, September 16th, 2013 17:18
Old news. That's clearly a Bionicle.
#8 By: Charlie, September 16th, 2013 20:55
The adult insect has a complex, fully developed nervous system and elaborately ribbed elytra that enable it to make dazzlingly complex maneuvers in mid air - and it can cope with damage and scarring, because it's a highly evolved and adaptable adult organism. These geary bits, which only occur in the relatively simple nymphs, are not at all fault-tolerant - they can fail with damage to a single tooth on a gear. But the nymphs can molt and the damage will be repaired in the next instar. So these are a specialised juvenile feature, sort of "training wheels" if you would.
Is that cool or what?
#9 By: Kimmoth, September 17th, 2013 03:02
Pretty hard to top that...
Is there such a thing as an organic wheel? Or any pivot that can rotate unrestricted beyond 360°?
That would trump the gears IMO, but pretty sure we're talking mere fantasy...
#10 By: petzl, September 17th, 2013 06:39
Cmon... if you come upon a pocketwatch on the beach, or an insect with meshed-gear legs, obviously, this was designed by a Mecha-God.
#11 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, September 17th, 2013 07:29
At larger scales, the difficulty of vascularizing such a structure probably prevents it. Bacterial flagella, though, are driven by a tiny little rotor-structure at their base and arguably do count (though the rotor is coupled to something that acts more like a propeller than a wheel, since the habitat is usually some ghastly fluid or other...)
#12 By: Charlie, September 17th, 2013 12:47
Ball and socket joints (like in your shoulder and hip) can rotate 360 degrees if your tendons and muscles are in good shape and you're not terribly overweight. The bony parts & the cartilaginous rotator cuff are fully capable of it, the restrictions on angle etc. are due to the surrounding structures. I can't think of anything closer to a wheel than that, at least not off the top of my head.
You can find all kinds of interesting structures in the arthropoda, though. For example spiders are somewhat hydraulic - they have rigid exoskeletons that are fluid-tight, and their guts are suspended in a bath of cuprous haemolymph. They haven't any veins distributing fuel to muscles, instead most of their limb movement is generated by pressure differentials, a lot like industrial hydraulic actuators. In cross section an spider leg is pretty similar to an incredibly finely machined set of nesting tubes.
#13 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, September 21st, 2013 13:12
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