Lizard

Meet the 6-legged robot lizards that may one day roam Mars

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 21, 2013   View Article

Wheels are great for traversing flat, paved surfaces, but when the terrain is covered with loose sand and large rocks, it’s time to grow feet. Scientists built a six-legged robot after studying the movements of lizards, and the breakthrough may mean a fast walking rover we send to Mars that’ll leave its predecessors in the dust.

“Having appendages like legs or limbs can be useful and beneficial” when the ground gets less even and solid, Daniel Goldman, a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told NBC News.

Turtles, snakes and lizards head toward extinction

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 15, 2013   View Article

Nearly one fifth of all reptiles — turtles, snakes, lizards and crocodiles — are on a slippery slope toward extinction due to loss of habitat, overharvesting and other factors, a new report says.

The study is the first of its kind to summarize the global conservation status of reptiles. More than 1,500 species were selected at random from around the world for conservation assessments in an effort to gain a representative sample.

Lizards Evolving Rapidly to Survive Deadly Fire Ants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 21, 2009   View Article

Long legs and skittish behavior are recently evolved traits that allow fence lizards in the southeastern U.S. to co-exist with lethal and invasive fire ants, according to a new study.

The new findings could boost hopes for species whose habitats are quickly changing due to climate change, experts say.

Lizards Do “Push ups” to Get Their Neighbors’ Attention

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 24, 2008   View Article

Lizards use “push ups” to attract attention in noisy environments, according to new research that used robotic lizards.

The robots, fashioned to mimic the appearance and body language of live anole lizards, helped scientists confirm a longheld theory that animals use grand gestures, such as the lizard push-up, and loud noises to get the attention of other members of their species in chaotic, noisy environments.

Legless Lizard, Other New Species Discovered

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 2, 2008   View Article

Captions for photos of new species discovered in Brazil. Shots include a legless lizard, horned toad, a dragon-looking lizard, and a fat-tailed mouse.

Lizards Help Explain Survival of the Not-So-Fittest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 24, 2004   View Article

Glance at a crowd at just about any big sporting event and you’ll notice that humans are a diverse bunch. Not only the fittest have survived.

Natural selection depends as much on behavior and environmental conditions as it does on physical prowess, as demonstrated by two studies of lizards in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature.

How “Jesus Lizards” Walk on Water

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 16, 2004   View Article

Interpretation of Jesus Christ’s reported ability to walk on water is left to biblical scholars. But scientists have figured out how so-called Jesus lizards are able to scurry across the surfaces of ponds and streams.

The findings improve understanding of the physics involved in walking in general and may have practical use in the development of walking robots.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach