Robot Salamander Tests Evolution

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Robot salamander tests evolution, according to articles in news@nature 8 March 2007 and BBC News Online, 9 March 2007. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have built an amphibious robot that moves like a Salamander to test their theories about what happened in "that famous moment when the first 'fish' scurried on land". They based their model on a salamander because they believe it was similar to the first animal to walk on land. The same team had been studying the electrical signals involved in controlling movement in real salamanders and concluded that their movements were basically controlled by two sets of nerve networks that produce different rhythms of movement - one low speed and one high speed. The low speed network controls walking, the high speed controls swimming. When the creature walks its body bends from side to side in an S shape. As it speeds up it eventually reaches a threshold where the fast network takes over, its limbs are tucked in and it swims with its body moving in a travelling wave.

Editorial Comment: The transition from one form of movement to another can only take place because the two control systems and the moving parts are already present – both in the salamander and the robot. The engineers who built the robot should know that, or do they believe all their clever engineering and hard work in building the robot was the result of a random naturalistic phenomenon? This robot experiment is further confirmation of planning and creative design, not chance evolution. (Ref. technology, gait, robotics)

Evidence News 17 May 2007

q_and_a2
crc_youtube
outdoor_museum_panel
free_audio2