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Latest Autotomy Stories

Pre-formed Score Lines Where Gecko Tails Detach Revealed By Advanced Bio-imaging
2012-12-20 16:36:54

Public Library of Science [ Watch The Video ] Like sheets of paper marked with perforated lines, gecko tails have unique structural marks that help them sever their tails to make a quick getaway. Though voluntarily shedding a body part in this manner is a well-known phenomenon, research published December 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE reveals aspects of the process that may have applications for structural engineers making similar, quickly detachable structures. Jan Enghild...

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2009-03-26 10:09:38

University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues have answered a question that has puzzled biologists for more than a century: What is the main factor that determines a lizard's ability to shed its tail when predators attack? The answer, in a word: Venom. Tail-shedding, known to scientists as caudal autotomy, is a common anti-predator defense among lizards. When attacked, many lizards jettison the wriggling appendage and flee. The predator often feasts on the tail while the lucky lizard...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.