Engineers from Oregon State University are attempting to develop a robot capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain and they're doing it with assistance from the unlikeliest of creatures--cockroaches. While they maybe unsightly, the insects are also biological and engineering marvels, and are providing the researchers with what they call "bioinspiration" in their efforts to build a running robot.
Their latest findings – just published in the professional journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics – outline how animals use their legs to manage energy storage and expenditure, and why this is so important for running stability.
From the smallest South American monkeys to the largest African apes, the timing of molar development and eruption is closely attuned to many fundamental aspects of a primate's biology, according to Gary Schwartz, a researcher at the Institute of Human Origins and an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The climate is changing and the natural world has to adapt to it. But how much time do the multitudes of species and their habitats have before it's too late? A team of environmental researchers has set out to answer that very question, and they say that as the world warms through the 21st century, ecosystems will need to shift about 0.42 kilometers per year (about a quarter mile per year) to keep pace with changing temperatures across the globe.
Female ducks can thank evolution for avoiding becoming impregnated by undesirable but aggressive males endowed with large corkscrew-shaped penises: vaginas with clockwise spirals that thwart oppositely spiraled males. That's right, males are literally screwed.
The research on this evolutionary 'battle of the sexes' at the genitalia level were described in the December 23 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Stars in globular clusters tend to be 12-13 billion years old but a small fraction appear to be significantly younger than the average population. Left behind by the stars that followed the normal path of stellar evolution and became red giants, those younger ones have been dubbed blue stragglers.
Oddly, blue stragglers appear to regress from 'old age' back to a hotter and brighter 'youth', gaining a new lease on life in the process - a cosmic facelift.
Global warming may be a reality, but the debate over what causes the warming and what to do about it is nowhere near over, according to a story in the latest issue of Chemical&Engineering News (C&EN) that surveyed climate scientists on both sides of the argument.
While both global warming "believers" and "skeptics" agree on some basics of climate change, for example, that average global temperatures have risen since 1850, with most of the warming occurring since the 1970s, the cordial agreement stops there, writes author Stephen K. Ritter. "At the heart of the global warming debate is whether warming is directly the result of increasing anthropogenic CO2 levels, or if it is simply part of Earth's natural climatic variation."