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Tiny Insect Has First Mechanical Gears Found in Nature: VIDEO


Scientists have discovered an insect which possesses something they've never seen before: its own mechanical gears.

Smithsonian writes: Issus

To the best of our knowledge, the mechanical gear—evenly-sized teeth cut into two different rotating surfaces to lock them together as they turn—was invented sometime around 300 B.C.E. by Greek mechanics who lived in Alexandria. In the centuries since, the simple concept has become a keystone of modern technology, enabling all sorts of machinery and vehicles, including cars and bicycles.

As it turns out, though, a three-millimeter long hopping insect known as Issus coleoptratus beat us to this invention. Malcolm Burrows and Gregory Sutton, a pair of biologists from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., discovered that juveniles of the species have an intricate gearing system that locks their back legs together, allowing both appendages to rotate at the exact same instant, causing the tiny creatures jump forward.

The finding, which was published today in Science, is believed to be the first functional gearing system ever discovered in nature.

Watch how it all works, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. It's witchcraft.

    Posted by: bollox | Sep 14, 2013 3:48:36 PM

  2. Uh, no. It is evolution. Always amazing and breathtaking evolution!

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 14, 2013 3:55:37 PM

  3. To see it in motion go here:

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 14, 2013 3:58:08 PM

  4. I love science.

    Posted by: andypharmer | Sep 14, 2013 3:58:57 PM

  5. Wow.

    Posted by: Tom | Sep 14, 2013 5:51:17 PM

  6. Just wait. The creationists will claim this is proof that the world was created by an "Inteligent Being."

    Posted by: Robert M. | Sep 14, 2013 5:52:10 PM

  7. Indeed, Robert. I can hear the nonsense ravings of the "cdesign proponentsists" already.

    Posted by: Yuulun | Sep 14, 2013 8:40:31 PM

  8. That is the grossest thing I've ever seen.

    Posted by: GB | Sep 14, 2013 11:33:53 PM

  9. 'Just wait. The creationists will claim this is proof that the world was created by an "Inteligent Being."'

    Hey, as long as they acknowledge that this insect is the purpose of God's Creation and that we must all bow down to it, I'm OK with them doing that.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 15, 2013 11:08:04 AM

  10. Fascinating

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 15, 2013 8:10:02 PM

  11. How do they know that "Issus coleoptratus beat us to this invention"? Maybe the insect developed these leg gears after seeing a human-made mechanical gear in action.

    Posted by: tomkitten | Sep 16, 2013 6:44:44 AM

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