Ultrafast Animals: The Force Behind Trap-Jaw Ants

 
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When people think of the fastest animals, most consider running cheetahs, flitting hummingbirds, or jumping kangaroos. But there's a level above what we think of as fast: Ultrafast organisms conserve energy and move in nano- or even micro-seconds. Sheila Patek, PhD, an associate professor in the biology department at Duke University, discusses her research on ultrafast creatures, including the powerful punch of the mantis shrimp and the force behind trap-jaw ants. By using high-speed digital cameras, Dr. Patek and her colleagues are among the first in their field to successfully analyze in slow motion the biology and intention behind these movements.

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