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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Sticky Weather Makes for Sticky Geckos
15 October 2010 12:15 am
For most people, bad hair days happen when it's humid. For geckos it's the opposite. Humidity bolsters their climbing skills by making the tiny hairs on their feet stick more tightly. In the past, some researchers speculated that the lizards stick so well to walls and other objects because their feet bond to these surfaces via strong bridges of water. But new research published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology indicates that geckos need no such aid. Scientists pulled sticky hairs from geckos' soles, ramped up the humidity, and moved them over two separate surfaces: a water-attracting silica glass slide and a water-repelling gallium arsenide wafer. The tiny hairs stuck just as tightly to the water-hating as the water-loving material, indicating that geckos don't need extra water on the surface. Instead, the trick lies in the humid air: humidity makes the hairs on a gecko's feet softer and stickier, allowing them to stick to walls a bit like a used piece of chewing gum.
See more ScienceShots.