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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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Video: Brittle Star Walks Like a Man
9 May 2012 5:55 pm
The blunt-spined brittle star (Ophiocoma echinata) doesn't let five limbs prevent it from walking like a human being. This starfish cousin is radially symmetrical, meaning it's the same along several axes. Thus, it could theoretically use any combination of its five serpentine arms to move in any direction it wants. But instead, the brittle star designates one of its arms as its "front," and the remaining limbs propel it in that direction in a motion similar to a sea turtle's crawl on land—or even the way we ourselves walk. When the brittle star wants to change direction, it doesn't turn around. It simply designates a new front arm and coordinates the rest of its arms accordingly. The discovery, reported today in The Journal of Experimental Biology, marks the first time that a radially symmetrical animal has been found to move bilaterally, and it suggests the brittle star has developed the mechanism to enjoy the efficiency of bilateralism in spite of its anatomy. Not bad for an animal without a central brain.
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