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It takes a smart robot to mimic a Permian “reptile”


It takes a smart robot to mimic a reptile

When researchers built a robot to sprawl like a prehistoric reptile, they were in for a surprise

Early Permian era Orobates’ skeleton was “exquisitely preserved,” which created an excellent opportunity for researchers in paleontology to try to figure out how the lizard-like animal moved. And reverse engineering its movements can tell us a lot about how it lived. “It takes a smart robot to mimic a reptile” at Mind Matters

It turns out walking, as opposed to sprawling, did not come about by the Darwinian method:

It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

The Permian period was 280 to 290 million years ago – a while back – and it seems most likely that Orobates walked back then.

See also: Winston Ewert: Remember the Luddites! The Luddites became famous for breaking machinery during the Industrial Revolution. Were they entirely wrong? People often think that the Luddites were merely anti-technology because they opposed automation during the Industrial Revolution (1760–1840). The story is more complex. As we face increasing automation today, we might want to see what we can learn from their history.

Robert J. Marks: Pursuing Nerd Quality Over Nerd Quantity Reducing math and science to practice is what engineers do. Scientists didn’t put a man on the moon. Engineers did. Overall, computer applications will impact our society and culture as much as electricity did. And we’re living smack in the middle of the transformation.


Jonathan Bartlett: Are you a software developer or business leader? Here’s where you want to be this year Do you ever feel frustrated when you hear about significant AI developments and you can’t be sure how—or whether—they relate to your organization? Are you missing out? Will a competitor “get it” ahead of your firm? The best strategy is to take a bit of time to get to know the technology, the companies, the people, and the ideas personally.


Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

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