Recent experiments have revealed that when perturbed in flight, a fruit fly can recover its heading to within 2 degrees in less than a tenth of a second. Here’s how the researchers describe the results:
Just as the Wright brothers implemented controls to achieve stable airplane flight, flying insects have evolved behavioral strategies that ensure recovery from flight disturbances.
This is yet another example of evolutionary euphemism. Recovery from flight disturbances is a complex, fine-tuned capability integrating sensors, algorithms and actuators. Not the stuff of random mutations. So the evolutionary euphemism compares it with the Wright brothers and their flying machines. -- Cornelius HunterRegular readers of the Ball Bounces will know that I am an avid fan of the Wright brothers and how they solved the problem of flight by focusing on the problem of control rather than thrust. What has taken the best, creative, wilful minds of man to accomplish, blind, dead, dumb, nature did without even trying -- and embedded its technology in an object the size of a, er, fruit fly.
I'm scoring this one for nature.
Score is now Nature 3, Man 0.
(To read all the articles in this series, select the Nature vs. Man keyword on the left side of the blog).