Patrick Aryee, 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
Did you know that mosquitoes' mouthparts are helping to develop pain-free surgical needles? Who'd have thought that the humble mussel could inspire so many useful things, from plywood production to a 'glue' that cements the crowns on teeth and saves unborn babies in the womb? How about the fact that studying the tiny kingfisher solved engineering problems with Japan's ultra-high-speed bullet train, or that the humpback whale's flipper helped design the most efficient blades for wind power turbines? For many years, humans have been using the natural world as inspiration for everything from fashion to architecture, and medicine to transport, and it may come as a surprise to learn how many inventions have been motivated by animal design and behaviour.
• For those who are interested in the history of animals
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