In a scene from the classic movie Jurassic Park, Dr. Iam Malcolm warned of the danger of raising dinosaurs in captivity with a mythical phrase: “Life makes its way.” And that is exactly what we have here. Snakes are the least gifted animals to fly or glide in the air. And yet, there are flying snakes. Isn’t it wonderfully terrifying?
In total, five species of snakes from the Chrysopelea group are known, which are capable of flying. Or more specifically, glide in the air. They live in Southeast Asia, mainly in China, India and Sri Lanka. And they are poisonous, although their venom is usually not fatal to humans, but to rodents and small animals.
It is an amazing ability, because the snake is the least gifted animal in the world to fly. It has no arms, legs, legs, or any other limbs to help it. It is basically a rope thrown into the air. And still, plan. You can see it in this video:
Professor Jake Socha, from Virginia Tech University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, leads a team that is studying how these snakes manage to plan.
What they have done is, basically, turn them into Hollywood actors: they have placed markers and have recorded their flights with motion capture cameras. Then they have reproduced the flight model on the computer. And the results are amazing.
According to an interview in Bored Panda, Professor Jack Socha has discovered that these snakes, which live in the treetops, when they jump into the void they open their ribs to flatten their bodies.
A Pennsylvania Nature buff decided to put a hidden camera in focus on a log, but he never imagined what would happen: He has filmed dozens of different animal species crossing the river through the log.
They lose the classic tube shape of their body and become almost flat, to offer more resistance to air. They also begin to zigzag as if they were swimming. This movement manages to stop her fall and, in fact, they glide in the air to move a few meters above her.
An amazing adaptation that unfortunately is unlikely to evolve further: the trees where they live are being cut down, and their habitat is shrinking.
Now the next objective of these biomedical engineers is to apply these movements to robotics, to improve the planning skills of robots.