Stunning imagery and video has been released of a tiny insect that uses a gearbox, complete with interlocking gears, to move.
“A species of plant-hopping insect, Issus coleoptratus, is the first living creature known to possess functional gears, a new study finds. The two interlocking gears on the insect’s hind legs help synchronize the legs when the animal jumps,” reported LiveScience.
“To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first demonstration of functioning gears in any animal,” lead researcher Malcolm Burrows, an emeritus professor of neurobiology at Britain’s University of Cambridge, told journalists.
The imagery of the bug is certain to further fuel the scientific debate about intelligent design versus random evolutionary development, because it shows complex machinery was not developed first by humans, but in nature itself.
The discovery of the gearbox follows the discovery of an internal motor, similar to an outboard on a boat, used by certain bacteria to propel themselves.
Scientists investigating the ‘design inference’ have noted on the bacterial motors that these molecular machines are appearing at sub-cellular levels as a product of DNA coding rather than sexual reproduction and natural selection. They also argue that the biological machines are “irreducibly” complex, meaning they give no advantage to the organism unless they are working from day one.
The odds against such complex machinery assembling itself on day one are said to be so huge that it gives rise to the question of whether they are evidence of intelligent design in nature.
In the present case, the gears are assembled on the legs.
Video of the insect gearbox in action has been released: