It would be a surprise if your pet turned up at the cat flap with a freshly slaughtered pig in its jaws.
Would it though?
The Komodo dragon’s snap, twist, pull and slice technique tears animal bodies into chunks so that it doesn’t need a strong jaw to crunch up bones, unlike the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), which has a bite force of 545N.
Reading about the Komodo dragon's bite force kind of surprised me, equating size with strength. The can opener technique sounds sort of like the crocodile death roll but on land. I always thought of them pretty similar but their bite force, venom Komodo's inject into their victims and techniques have important differences.
Lions have a bite force of around 1,768N
Trying to find an artistic depiction of a giant wombat led me to a video of Wombat Pat, no regrets.
Reading about how mosquitoes "ride the punch" was actually pretty interesting. Humans being able to tolerate around only 5X acceleration of gravity and they're out there coping with 140 is wild to think about.
I seem to be the one that always draws mosquitoes, so thinking about cashing out the old 401K and donating it helping develop soybean oil spray. DOUSE ME IN IT.
In symbol form this is F=ma, an equation that in 2004 was voted third favourite equation of all time by readers of Physics World magazine.
Third favorite?? I demand a recount. I'm madly curious about how cut throat, vicious, and campaign fraud-y the lead up to this vote got.
The shrimp accelerates its dactyls at up to 100,000 metres per second per second (m/s2), a rate more than 10,000 times that of gravity, and one of the fastest accelerations in nature. The clubs reach speeds of more than 80km per hour (50mph) before impact.
Harlequin Mantis Shrimp
Obviously, these were the highlight of the two chapters for me.
This video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtNAqK_V-lg was short but showed the coil and spring action of their punches pretty well. The eyes on this, wowza.
I also went to the Patek website for video of the cavitation https://pateklab.biology.duke.edu/extreme-high-speed-video-cavitation-during-mantis-shrimp-strike
The video quality was poor and I didn't get much out of it but oh well. I was endlessly fascinated with these bubbles they send out that can be 7,000˚C like the surface of the Sun. Again, how does evolution do it? I've really been liking how they describe these animals mannerisms, defenses, and what have you, while mentioning how humans are studying them to try and recreate them for ways to benefit us. It shows how we can learn from these animals and how we are inferior in some ways. The way seahorses have modified heads and movements to not create turbulence and how submarines work for the same effect was interesting.
In tests, geckos could support a sliding force of 20–40N. So the gecko can support its body weight, which is 1N for a 100g (3.5oz) gecko, with just one toe. But this 20–40N is below the theoretical value of 1,300N. ‘This is probably because perfect contact of all setae at the same time is unlikely,’ says Stark. ‘At the whole-animal level they are only using 3 per cent of their setae ... which is fine because to support their body mass they need less than 0.04 per cent!’
One toe! I remember doing the Presidential Fitness thingy in school and barely being able to hand from the pull-up bar with both arms.
Also, geckos will never not be mini-dinosaurs to me.
compares it to interlacing the pages of two telephone books, page on page, then trying to separate them. ‘You have not glued them together, you haven’t stapled them, you haven’t done anything in particular to make them adhesive, but if you do that you can’t pull them apart because you’ve got such close contact and so much of it,’ she explains.
I love explanations like this, it puts information in a simple frame of reference and you can fairly easily create the experiment at home; I'm a hands-on, visual person and like doing this. (Which you all probably realize by now with all my Youtube-ing)
The largest pond skaters, Gigantometra gigas, are near the limit. With a mass of roughly 3g (0.1oz) – about a thousand times heavier than the smallest species – they have legs measuring more than 20cm (8in) to generate enough upwards force to stay above water.
8 inches?! I have disproportionately long legs, I'm very happy my nickname is not Gigantomertra gigas.
Pond skaters are so efficient that they can move 10–15 body lengths on a single stroke. That’s like the rowers in a 20m (66ft) eight-person racing boat travelling up to 300m (nearly 1,000ft) every time they move their blades
These things can book! I can't remember, did it say for how long they could keep up that travel speed/length?
As for the Namibian desert fogstand beetle (Stenocara gracilipes), it lives in one of the driest places on Earth and collects water from the fogs that drift in off the Atlantic Ocean every morning. The beetle sticks its bottom in the air so its body is at about 45° to the ground and waits for the tiny water droplets landing on its back to clump together and roll down into its mouth.
Better not miss squats day if you're a Namibian desert fogstand beetle. This seems like a good amount of patience and vulnerability involved. I'd be side-eyeing evolution for giving me this solution.
found that all mammals weighing between three kilograms and eight tonnes take 21 seconds to empty their bladder (give or take 13 seconds)
Please tell me I'm not the only one who counted how long they peed for after reading this? No? Right, moving on.
I was a little disappointed in the dwarf seahorse section as I thought it was a little bare on explanation, were they saying they just don't know exactly about head shape and placement? I'm not sure I got a lot out of this section.
Another danger are wasps and flies that lay their eggs inside adult bees; when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the bee from the inside out.
Oh my god, you guys, LEAVE BEES ALONE!
its larvae keep predators at bay by ‘spitting’ out nicotine they’ve absorbed from tobacco plants through their spiracles (air-holes).
There has to be a cartoon with the North American Hawkmoth depicted as a gunslinger in the old west.
The ptero-saur section about how they fly and the large ones had to get a running start, made wonder if the animals the characters fly on in Avatar where based on them? I love when sci-fi/fantasy draws from real life examples to create plausible fiction.
it tried to save weight by having hollow bones.
I don't know if anyone else is a 30 Rock fan, but this image refused to quit flashing in my head when "hollow bones" was read. "Careful, my bones!"
Overall, I thought these two chapters were pretty good, there were a couple times I wish there had been more information and a couple times I started drifting because I wasn't into what was being relayed. It does make me smile in wonderment that even in 2019 with all the technological advancements we have that blow my mind, we still aren't quite certain how bees fly.