Saturday, 4 July 2015

Insects Are Marvels of Engineering, BBC Says

A great green bush-cricket (Tettigonia viridissima). Image courtesy of Fritz Geller-Grimm, Creative Commons.

Joel Kontinen

A new BBC article describes insects as “incredible acrobats.” Reporting from the Society for Experimental Biology's annual meeting in Prague, Victoria Gill writes:

“Insects solve some pretty wacky biological problems, says Dr Gregory Sutton.

And he should know. For almost a decade, he has been using high-speed cameras to reveal the secrets of the most acrobatic of the world's invertebrates.

Along with his colleagues at the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge, he is working out how fleas, locusts and even praying mantises take to the air.

She describes insects as super-jumpers:

One of the problems these super-jumpers have is that to use a jump as an evasive manoeuvre, they must accelerate in a very short space of time.

A flea, for example, releases the energy in its legs in one thousandth of a second. A more robust grasshopper manages the feat in 30 thousandths of a second

We would not expect such feats in a Darwinian world produced by a blind watchmaker that is primarily concerned with survival.

Had the trait evolved gradually, predators would have had the time to finish them off.

However, in a world that manifests the handiwork of a benevolent Creator who cares for the animal kingdom, we would expect animals to be very intelligently designed to cope in at times a harsh post-Fall world.

Complexity does not just happen – it has to be designed.

In 2013 Dr. Sutton published a paper in Science with neurobiologist Malcolm Burrows of the University of Cambridge on the amazing mechanical gears in the planthopper Issus coleoptratus.


Gill, Victoria. 2015. Why insects are marvels of engineering. BBC news (3 July).