Fortune Favors Bold Lizards Animals Environment 

Fortune Favors Bold Lizards

By Kate Stone It has been said that the brave don’t live as long, but the timid don’t live at all, so this one is for the brave. Bold lizards, regardless of size or sex, have the most success finding mates. Ecologists have found a valuable life lesson to be learned from lizards: a bold personality—not body size or sex—correlates with the mating success of yellow-spotted monitor lizards roaming the remote Oombulgurri floodplains of tropical Western Australia. But boldness has a cost: bold individuals expose themselves to a much higher…

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gecko Animals Biology Engineering Physics 

Why Spiderman Can’t Exist, but a Gecko Can

By Kate Stone With all due respect to Spiderman, it turns out that physics is against our wall-crawling, web-slinging hero. There is a size limit on who or what can stick to walls: the size of a gecko. David Labonte and his team at the University of Cambridge Department of Zoology have been wondering why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls. Geckos have highly effective and complex foot pads that they use to climb smooth, vertical surfaces. However, anything larger than a gecko would need…

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Green Anole and Brown Anole (Todd Cam) Animals Biology 

Florida Lizards Evolving Rapidly

Scientists working in Florida have documented the high-speed evolution of a native lizard species, in only 15 years, in response to pressure from an invading lizard species. After contact with the invasive brown anole lizards, the native green anole lizards began perching higher in the trees. With each generation, their feet have changed to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up. According to the research team, the change occurred at an astonishing pace. Within a few months of first contact, native lizards began shifting to higher perches.…

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Gecko Foot (Emily Kane, UC Riverside) Animals Biology Technology 

Agile Robots Inspired by Gecko Feet

An in depth study of how a gecko’s feet work could lead to designs for more agile robots that can maneuver on complex surfaces. To climb steep surfaces, geckos use an adhesive system in their toes. This evolutionary innovation is how they climb vertically both up and down. On the underside of their toes are structures calledsetae, millions of very fine hair-like structures that increase the surface area and improve contact between the foot and the surface on which it rests. This adhesive system works best when the gecko plants…

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