While the Society To Save Pluto as a Planet was battling the International Astronomical Union over the semantics of roundness, there was another scientific throw-down brewing in Berkeley, one that could only be solved with a $60,000 video camera shooting 100,000 frames per second. The contenders were the Myrmecologists versus the Stomatophore Researchers, and when it was over, there was a new world record for the fastest predatory strike in the animal kingdom and a film that, if we meditated, we’d meditate to. The results: the fastest predatory strike in the animal kingdom is no longer the brutal claw punch of the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus). The peacock mantis can punch its raptorial appendage at over sixty miles an hour, producing a force one thousand times greater than its body mass, capable of shattering snail shells, pâté-ing small fish, and creating a cavitation wave known to crack aquarium glass three feet away. But the mandibles of Odontomachus bauri, a.k.a. the trap-jaw ant, are faster.
The trap-jaw ant has a pair of jagged scythes growing from its head that, when triggered by tiny hairs, can smash down at 145 cricket-decapitating miles an hour. The motion pushes the boundaries of physics, and often causes the ants to do a thing not unlike flying.*
Cheryl Hayashi studies spider silk, one of nature's most high-performance materials. Each species of spider can make up to 7 very different kinds of silk. How do they do it? Hayashi explains at the DNA level -- then shows us how this super-strong, super-flexible material can inspire.
In a wildlife video that’s making the rounds today, an explorer treking through Uganda’s Bwindi National Park has a hair-raising encounter with a pack of wild baby gorillas as a big male Silverback watches silently.
It brakes my heart to think how these human friendly gorillas will be easily poachable. "(
Live elephant birth caught on camera.