Biomimicry Intelligent Design

Smallest propeller on Earth powers fastest life form?

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Not a life form we might have expected either.

As usual, design in nature was there ahead of us. Specifically, in the Archaea, discovered by Carl Woese (1928–2012):

Some archaea propel themselves to incredible speeds by rotating a spiral-shaped filament called an archaellum. Using a powerful cryo-electron microscope, the new study examined this closer than ever before.

The research team – which included the University of Regensburg – focussed on Methanocaldococcus villosus, a species found near underwater volcanoes off Iceland, where water temperatures can reach about 80°C.

“M. villosus swims at a speed of about 500 body lengths per second,” said Dr. Lavinia Gambelli, of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute (LSI).

“Considering that the tiny cell is only about one micrometer in size, this means half a millimeter in one second.

“At first glance, this does not seem much. But in comparison, a cheetah achieves only 20 body lengths per second – so if an M. villosus cell had the size of a cheetah, it would swim at approximately 3,000 kilometers per hour.

“The incredible speed that M. villosus can achieve makes it one of the fastest organisms on the planet.”

University of Exeter, “Biologists Investigate Smallest Propeller on Earth – Used by One of the Fastest Organisms on the Planet” at SciTech Daily (February 12, 2022)

You may also wish to read: Carl Woese, Discoverer Of A Whole Domain Of Life, Regretted Not Overthrowing Darwin

5 Replies to “Smallest propeller on Earth powers fastest life form?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Skimming the article, the internal structure is astonishing. Each cell has left and right handed screws to balance the torque so the cell itself doesn’t rotate. Among the screws of each direction, there’s a variety of ‘pitches’ and a variety of pitch changes from start to finish, to avoid setting up a resonance that would shake the cell. Nature thinks of EVERYTHING.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    That’s impressive until you remember we’re moving at 1.3 million mph without even lifting a finger

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    Another irrelevant contribution from Seversky.
    Irrelevant, but not pointless; a distraction as noted in the Distractors Encyclopaedia under the shiny Thing Over There entry.

  4. 4
    zweston says:

    Never underestimate the dismissal of one of the black knights of the quest of the Holy Grail. “Tis’ just a flesh wound” “I’ve had worse”

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    1:15 in the video:

    archaea these can be quite long longer
    than bacterial flagella and some cells
    are known to have more than 70 of these
    are kala so the two domains of
    prokaryotic cells share flagella in some
    members but these are not similar in
    structure in the proteins which form
    them and must have evolved separately
    these are also then distinct from the
    flagella found in eukaryotes which are
    composed of a specific arrangement of
    tubulin wrapped in cell membrane and are
    also not homologous to either of these
    bacterial flagella

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