Did You Know… The First Mechanical Gear Was Designed by Mother Nature? (Pictures & Video)

Meet the issus planthopper, a close relative of the grasshopper.

In September of last year, scientists studying this insect discovered that the issus was using a built-in mechanical gear to synchronize the powerful jumping mechanisms that it uses to jump distances over 100 times its body-length. Here’s a close up:

planthopper
The length indicator is in micrometers; a micrometer = 1 millionth of a meter

It’s the first mechanical gear found within a living creature, and helps the planthopper achieve jumping accelerations up to 400g’s (ie. 400x the force of gravity), 20 times what the human body can withstand.

Here’s a video showing the mechanism in action. It has been slowed waaaay down- the actual process happens in less than 30 milliseconds:

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