Rhampholeon spinosus, a lumpy-nosed chameleon that can fit on the tip of your thumb, doesn’t exactly inspire awe at first sight. But don’t let its size fool you: in one respect, this little lizard is among the most powerful machines on Earth. It’s got a tongue that moves like a supercar.
Most nectar-eating bats hover in front of flowers and lap like crazy to shovel high-calorie goodness down their throats. But when some species of South American leaf-nosed bats cozy up to a flower, they just stick their tongues in and leave them there. They’re eating, but their tongues don’t seem to be moving at all.…
Technically, the cervix is the bottom chunk of the uterus, a circular plug-like mass of tissue dividing the uterine space from the vagina. But where most of the uterine wall is made of smooth muscle, up to 90% of the cervix is built of stiff and unyielding connective tissue. At least, it’s stiff most of the time.
Human vaginas don’t have the fantastical loops and blind alleys of a duck vagina, but they still have some pretty amazing shape-changing powers. Here’s how they’re put together, and how that anatomy lets them grow when they need to.
Your spam folder is probably full of the offers. (Mine certainly is.) But none of the emails promising to let you “please your partner” by making you a “giant for girls” with “strong erections” say a thing about how the penis gets erect in the first place. Here’s how it really works.
Some of these moving, biomechanical bird sculptures look like they're about to take flight, while others resemble bizarre Muppets made over in metal. But one thing that they all have in common is that they are deeply satisfying to watch, with possibilities for special effects and industrial design alike.
Why do astronauts hop on the moon? After carefully watching hapless volunteers use a treadmill under variable gravity, researchers think it had more to do with the stiffness of spacesuits than anything else.
Kangaroos are famous for their hopping, but a slow-moving roo relies more on its tail to get around than either of its feet. The result is a what biologists call a five-limbed, i.e. "pentapedal," gait. Yes, you read that correctly. The kangaroo is a pentaped – perhaps the only one on Earth.
Admit it — you've watched those videos where people crash into something and then faceplant into the ground. It turns out that scientists have been watching them too. Here's what they've discovered.
The world's fastest land animal (again: relative to its size) is Paratarsotomus macropalpis, a sesame-seed-sized mite native to southern California. Scientists recently clocked P. micropalpis traveling 322 body lengths per second – which, to scale, would be like a person running 1,300 miles per hour.
Red pandas and giant pandas have more in common than simply being equally adorable and included on the IUCN Red List. They both eat bamboo and live in the same habitats. How do they coexist without competing over the same resources? The secret might be hidden in their skulls.
Not all birds fly the same way. Hardly a revolutionary statement (you don't need a firm grasp of biomechanics to recognize that a sparrow gets around differently than an albatross). But things get more interesting when you stop to examine the differences.
To better understand why bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight, a team of biologists at Brown University is examining ultra high-speed X-ray videos of fruit bats as they launch themselves into the air.
Stanford University researchers want to build better flying robots. In order to eventually do this, they are filming birds in flight (including hummingbirds) using an ultra-high-speed video camera. Some of the clips they've acquired are nothing short of amazing.
For years, the top speed of the world's fastest land animal has been listed as 64 miles per hour – but that record is based on a single measurement, taken all the way back in the 1960s. So researchers flew to Botswana, where they outfitted wild cheetahs with motion- and acceleration-tracking collars. After measuring…
Tyrannosaurus rex was a thrasher, prone to vigorously shaking its powerful, prey-packed jaws from side-to-side like a crocodile. But new simulations reveal Allosaurus was equipped to dismember its prey with a little more decorum, stripping flesh from bone not with the head-swinging motion of a croc, but the meticulous…
Everyone, these are trap-jaw ants. The two featured here are fighting. Watch them closely – even in slow motion, the the spring-loaded snap of a trap-jaw's maw is powerful enough to send both ants twirling in opposite directions in the blink of an eye.
Just how quick was the great tyrant lizard, exactly? Experts in biomechanics think she was pretty damn quick – but still probably not as fast as you think.