Like sheets of paper marked with perforated lines, gecko tails have unique structural marks that help them sever their tails to make a quick getaway. Though voluntarily shedding a body part in this manner is a well-known phenomenon, research published December 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE reveals aspects of the process that may have applications for structural engineers making similar, quickly detachable structures.
Jan Enghild and colleagues from Aarhus University, Denmark, used advanced bio-imaging techniques to discover that a Tokay gecko sheds its tail along pre-formed "score lines" in specific regions of the tail, which is held together by adhesive forces at these lines. The process of separation is independent of protein-cleaving enzymes, and microstructures at the ends of muscle fibers are most likely involved in the release of the tail. Enghild adds, "Our work has been driven by a curiosity to understand how tail autotomy is facilitated among lizards. In the present work we use a combination of advanced protein- and high-resolution imaging- techniques to address the mechanism involved in the process."
Sanggaard KW, Danielsen CC, Wogensen L, Vinding MS, Rydtoft LM, et al. (2012) Unique Structural Features Facilitate Lizard Tail Autotomy. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51803. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051803
Public Library of Science: http://www.plos.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
For all but the shyest of wallflowers, moving to music is a natural human response. But what is it about a catchy tune that makes us groove? Scientists think they've figured out at least part of the recipe: just the right mix of regular rhythms and unexpected beats.
Artists' brains are structurally different to non-artists in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery, a study finds.
Information about who suspects call and when is helping police work out who is linked to which crimes and even their place in the criminal hierarchy
The lead scientist behind a revolutionary method to turn adult cells into stem cells has been found guilty of misconduct, but insists the mistakes were unintentional
A new study reveals that East African honeybees are resistant to the pathogens blamed for colony collapses elsewhere.
Chimpanzees choose tree branches that give them the most firm, stable, and comfortable place to sleep, a new study says.
You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo.
Video footage of the carnivorous sponges gives researchers insight into how they survive
Thermal imaging helps researchers uncover a 1,000-year-old village
Malnourished "Hoppie" is being nursed back to health after being found wandering in California's San Luis National Wildlife Refuge