Planthoppers with Gears

Wissenschaftler haben entdeckt, dass junge Käferzikaden (Planthoppers) Zahnräder in den Beinen haben. Man geht davon aus, dass es (bisher) die einzigen Zahnräder sind, die jemals von der Natur hervorgebracht wurden, bislang glaubte man, Zahnräder seinen eine Erfindung des Menschen.

The reason for the gearing, they say, is coordination: To jump, both of the insect’s hind legs must push forward at the exact same time. Because they both swing laterally, if one were extended a fraction of a second earlier than the other, it’d push the insect off course to the right or left, instead of jumping straight forward.

The gearing is an elegant solution. The researchers’ high-speed videos showed that the creatures, who jump at speeds as high as 8.7 miles per hour, cocked their back legs in a jumping position, then pushed forward, with each moving within 30 microseconds (that’s 30 millionths of a second) of the other. […] In all the Issus hoppers studied, the same number of teeth were present on each hind leg, and the gears locked together neatly. The teeth even have filleted curves at the base, a design incorporated into human-made mechanical gears because it reduces wear over time.

This Insect Has The Only Mechanical Gears Ever Found in Nature (via /.)