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  1. #1
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    TED.com strikes again, amazing talk

    Today's TED-talk blew my mind.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_full...ko_s_tail.html

    It shows how scientists who were studying gecco-feet unintentionally ended up discovering new facts about how gecco's use their tails, and maybe even how birds started flapping their wings.

    Through their study of the feet and trying to engineer robots using the principles that allow geccos to walk up walls, they discovered that their prototype robot could only do it if it had a tail. This led them to study how the gecco used the tail as a fifth leg, something that had never before been studied. This in turn led them to think "what happens if the gecco is walking upside-down?"...

    They then viewed a gecco falling from a leaf on high-speed video, and it turns out that the gecco uses a whipping tail-motion to flip mid-air. This is similar to how the cat always lands on it's feet, just a lot faster, again, up until that point unknown animal behaviour. Then they even tried to see if the gecco would be able to glide to another tree.

    When viewed in a wind-tunnel, not only did the gecco use it's tail to steer mid-air, but it also flapped the tail to move forwards. We all know that birds evolved from lizards, perhaps their flight evolved from this practise of steering and flapping between tree-branches?

    I love seeing things like this, how the most incredible discoveries are often complete accidents. =)


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  4. #2
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    i'll admit,i always liked the idea of having a tail myself.
    this further confirms it.
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  5. #3
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    Truly awesome stuff !... Nature is full of secrets yet to be discovered and once again she has proven herself as the master designer
    -JS Neo

    "Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt

    "The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
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  6. #4
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    Discoveries like this would be far more common if the money was put into the right research ; but sadly most of this research isn't as profitable as most 'man' made 'discoveries'

    Some of our best 'discoveries' come straight from biology.

    The design of the whale fin is being directly used on wind turbines, to more efficiently collect wind energy. The blind detection of the Bat and its sonar was used in the 'discovery' of sonar for subs and boats.

    (I skimmed the thread/article, this might just sound weird..)

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kab View Post
    We all know that birds evolved from lizards, perhaps their flight evolved from this practise of steering and flapping between tree-branches?
    Pardon me, phylogeny geek coming through...
    Birds evolved from dinosaurs, not lizards. Birds and lizards are on two totally different branches of Diapsida (Archosauromorpha and Lepidosauromorpha, respectively). But that's still an interesting hypothesis.

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  9. #6
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    You could have just linked us the Wiki article, and spared us your painful commentary.

    High as shit.

  10. #7
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    I think everyone's missing the real issues presented by this footage. That is, is it funny when you place a gecko in a wind tunnel?

    The answer? YES.
    ₪ "Yes, Gamera is powered by farts." -Roger Ebert ₪


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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moai View Post
    Pardon me, phylogeny geek coming through...
    Birds evolved from dinosaurs, not lizards. Birds and lizards are on two totally different branches of Diapsida (Archosauromorpha and Lepidosauromorpha, respectively). But that's still an interesting hypothesis.
    You are offcourse right, I was confusing lizards with dinosaurs, thanks for clearing that up =)

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