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    Unicellular turned out to be one of the fastest animals on Earth
    An ordinary inhabitant of the lakes and ponds develops a fantastic acceleration. Scientists are trying to understand how he does it

    Ordinary unicellular claims to be the fastest animal on the planet. According to the conducted measurements, it can reach acceleration up to 200 m/S2 (more than 20 times the gravitational acceleration). Scientists are trying to understand how it can be an amazing creation.

    We are talking about the simplest kind of Spirostomum ambiguum. This oblong one-celled lives in many lakes and ponds. To move it, unlike other protozoa, do not use special appendages (cilia). Instead, it moves like a worm, shortening and straightening your body.

    In the quiescent state the length of S. ambiguum is approximately four millimeters. However, this "worm" is able to reduce it by 60% in just a few milliseconds. At the same time from a flat tape, he turns into a kind of Rugby ball.

    How is it doing this? It is not yet clear. Muscle man and other mammals, as is known, consist mainly of the proteins actin and myosin. However, the mere use of these substances would not allow the animal to achieve similar results. Probably it uses is unknown to date, supramolecular mechanisms.

    "If they had only the proteins actin and myosin, which make up our muscles, they could not create enough power to move so quickly," says member of the research shamla of Saad (Saad Bhamla) from Georgia Institute of Technology.


    Next mystery: why such a radical deformation do not damage the fragile organelles inside the cells? To this question the answer is no.

    "We want to show [in the model] all that makes the creature and to simulate it on the computer using an engineering approach. We want to know how a cell achieves this remarkable acceleration and what are the "molecular spring" is used to increase capacity," says Bhalla.

    Interest in the exotic animal is not only academic. The researchers hope to borrow from it technical solutions for the creation of flexible robots, barely visible to the human eye.

    "As engineers, we love to find out how nature copes with important issues," says Bhalla.

    The word "Conduct.Science" ( previously talked about the speed records set by the cheetahs and crabs. We are not spared the attention and the theme of sustainability of living matter to other extreme loads, saying that helps the brain of a woodpecker to take a punch. We also talked about the amazing speed with which the ants fold up their mandibles.

    Friday 10 August 2018 - 15:00:03email to someone printer friendly create pdf of this news item
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