Rotating locomotion in living systems
Mon, 2017-Nov-06 00:38 UTC
Length - 2:23
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The featured article for Monday, 06 November 2017 is Rotating locomotion in living systems.
Several organisms are capable of rolling locomotion; however, true wheels and propellers—despite their utility in human vehicles—do not appear to play a significant role in the movement of living things (with the notable exception of certain flagella, which function like corkscrews). Biologists have expounded on the reasons for this apparent absence of biological wheels, and wheeled creatures have appeared often in speculative fiction.
Given the ubiquity of the wheel in human technology, and the existence of biological analogues of many other technologies (such as wings and lenses), the lack of wheels in the natural world would seem to demand explanation—and the phenomenon is broadly explained by two main factors. First, there are several developmental and evolutionary obstacles to the advent of a wheel by natural selection, addressing the question "Why can't life evolve wheels?" Secondly, wheels are often at a competitive disadvantage when compared with other means of propulsion (such as walking, running, or slithering) in natural environments, addressing the question "If wheels could evolve, why might they be rare nonetheless?" This environment-specific disadvantage also explains why some historical civilizations have abandoned wheels.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:38 UTC on Monday, 06 November 2017.
For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotating_locomotion_in_living_systems.
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