Understanding Evolution

Exoskeleton strength: Scaling setbacks

Why did Tube 3 crumple? Start the animation below to take a closer look at what happened.

text-only version

The same principles apply to arthropods. As you saw in the first experiment, if you scaled up an ant proportionally (keeping its exoskeleton thickness the same in relation to its body), the ant's legs would crumple under the strain of holding up its body.

Oversized ant collapses

 

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http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0_0/constraint_12

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