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Was It Designed?

Natural Systems

Animal Artistry​—Was It Designed?

We can find artistic arrangements of stunning beauty in the animal world.

Photosynthesis​—Was It Designed?

What is photosynthesis, and what does it do for us?

Nature’s Energy Management​—Was It Designed?

Does the built-in energy management found in nature indicate anything about the origin of life?

Light From Life​—Was It Designed?

Not only do some animals emit light but they do so in a more energy-efficent way than man-made sources of light. How?

Human Body

Oxygen Transport​—Was It Designed?

You can learn about the amazing system that picks up, delivers, and processes oxygen in our body.

The Human Body’s Ability to Repair Wounds

How are scientists mimicking this ability in the design of new plastics?

Land Animals

The Elephant’s Trunk​—Was It Designed?

Researchers are impressed with the remarkable flexibility of the elephant’s trunk. Learn what contributes to its complex structure.

The Arctic Ground Squirrel’s Brain​—Was It Designed?

See its unique ability to regenerate after hibernation.

The Sea Otter’s Fur—Was It Designed?

Some aquatic mammals rely on a thick layer of blubber to stay warm. The sea otter uses a different method.

The Cat’s Tongue​—Was It Designed?

Domestic cats may devote 24 percent of their waking hours to grooming. What is the secret to their self-cleaning success?

The Function of Cat Whiskers—Was It Designed?

Why are scientists designing robots equipped with sensors that they call e-whiskers?

The Dog’s Sense of Smell—Was It Designed?

What is it about a dog’s sense of smell that has inspired scientists to try and copy its capabilities?

The Horse’s Leg—Was It Designed?

Why have engineers been unable to imitate its design?

The Bat’s Echolocation​—Was It Designed?

How is it possible for an animal to “see” with anything other than its eyes?

The Slug’s Adhesive Slime

Glue that mimics slug slime could become part of every surgeon’s tool kit, eliminating the need for stitches and staples.

Aquatic Life

The Shark’s Skin​—Was It Designed?

How does the structure of the shark’s skin help it to remain parasite free?

The Dive of the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale​—Was It Designed?

These air-breathing mammals dive to great depths and hold their breath for long periods of time. How do they do it?

The Flipper of the Humpback Whale

See how the mechanics of this giant animal’s flipper have influenced aspects of your life.

The Pilot Whale’s Self-Cleaning Skin—Was It Designed?

Why are shipping companies interested in its unique abilities?

The Dolphin’s Sonar—Was It Designed?

Scientists are attempting to replicate these animals’ amazing ability to explore and understand their environment.

The Slime of the Hagfish​—Was It Designed?

It disgusts predators but intrigues scientists. Why?

The Sea Cucumber’s Smart Skin

What lies behind the flexibility of this marine animal’s skin?

The Grunion’s Spawning Technique​—Was It Designed?

Find out how the timing and manner that it lays its eggs aids in its survival.

The Structure of the Limpet’s Teeth

What makes limpet teeth even stronger than spider silk?

The Glue of the Barnacle

The barnacles’ glue is said to be far superior to any synthetic products. But how barnacles adhere to wet surfaces remained a mystery until recently.

The Byssus of the Marine Mussel

Marine mussels anchor themselves by means of threads. Understanding how these work could help devise new and better ways of attaching equipment to buildings, or tendons to bones.

The Shape of Seashells

The shape and structure of seashells serve to protect the mollusks that live inside them.

The Color-Changing Ability of the Cuttlefish

Engineers are trying to mimic this ability by creating clothing that would change color in a fraction of a second.

The Light Organ of the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid—Was It Designed?

The animal creates its own light—but not to see or to be seen.

The Amazing Arm of the Octopus​—Was It Designed?

Engineers have developed a robotic arm with surprising capabilities based on it.

The “Seeing” Skeleton of the Brittle Star

Learn astonishing facts about this reef-dwelling creature.

The Seahorse’s Tail—Was It Designed?

See why the seahorse’s unique tail is inspiring the next generation of robotics.

Fish Schooling

What can fish teach us about how to reduce car crashes?

The Remora’s Sucker​—Was It Designed?

What makes this fish so good at staying attached to other sea creatures?

The Manta Ray’s Filtration System​—Was It Designed?

How does the ray filter out plankton that is much smaller than its filter openings?


The Sound of Songbirds​—Was It Designed?

What makes it possible for birds to produce intricate and varied songs?

The Hummingbird’s Tongue​—Was It Designed?

This tiny bird uses a highly efficient method of drawing up nectar.

The Gannet’s Dive​—Was It Designed?

How do these large seabirds survive an impact that may exceed 20 times the force of gravity?

Bird Colors That Never Fade

How is the unfading color of bird feathers paving the way for better paints and fabrics?

The Owl’s Wing—Was It Designed?

The intricate structure of the owl’s wing could hold the key to quieter wind turbines.

The Upturned Wing Tip of Soaring Birds

By copying its design, airplane engineers saved 2 billion gallons of jet fuel in a single year.

The Emperor Penguin’s Feather Coat—Was It Designed?

What have marine biologists discovered about this bird’s feathers?

The Energy-Efficient Flight of the Wandering Albatross

Find out how this bird can soar for hours on end without a single flap of its wings!

The Bar-Tailed Godwit’s Navigational System

Learn about this bird’s eight-day journey, one of the most amazing migrations known to man.

The Nest of the Malleefowl​—Was It Designed?

This mound-building bird produces a natural incubator for its eggs. How does it control the temperature of its nest year-round despite the changing seasons?

Reptiles and Amphibians

The Thorny Devil Lizard’s Moisture-Extracting Skin

How does this lizard draw water up its legs and into its mouth?

The Tail of the Agama Lizard—Was It Designed?

How can this lizard jump from a horizontal surface onto a vertical wall?

The Crocodile’s Jaw—Was It Designed?

It can bite three times as hard as a lion or a tiger, yet is more sensitive than a human fingertip. How?

Snake Skin

What makes the skin of a snake durable enough to let it climb up rough tree trunks or burrow into abrasive sand?

The Gastric Brooding Frog’s Reproductive System

Why would an evolutionist say that a slow and progressive change in its biology is inconceivable?

The Japanese Tree Frog’s Call​—Was It Designed?

What is the secret behind the way male Japanese tree frogs produce sound in order to attract females?


The Bumblebee’s Flight Control​—Was It Designed?

How does such a small creature outfly even the most experienced pilots?

The Landing Strategy of the Honeybee

What makes its strategy ideal for use in the guidance systems of flying robots?

The Honeycomb—Was It Designed?

What have bees known about the efficient use of space that mathematicians could not prove until 1999?

How Do Ants Avoid Traffic Jams?

Ants avoid gridlock. What is their strategy?

The Ant’s Neck

How can this insect carry a load that is many times its own body weight?

The Carpenter Ant’s Antenna Cleaner

This tiny insect needs to keep itself clean in order to survive. How does it care for this basic task?

The Compound Heat Shield of the Saharan Silver Ant

This insect is one of the most heat-tolerant animals known. What enables it to survive extreme temperatures?

The Periodical Cicada’s Timing

The strange life cycle of these fascinating insects means that they appear for only a few weeks once every 13 or 17 years.

The Mechanical Gears of the Issus Leafhopper

They are critical to the insect’s ability to make a powerful yet controlled jump.

The Locust’s Motion-Sensitive Neurons

How do swarming locusts avoid running into each other?

The Katydid’s Remarkable Hearing

This tiny insect’s ears work in a way similar to that of human ears. How can research about this unique hearing system benefit modern-day science and engineering?

The Monarch Butterfly’s Migration​—Was It Designed?

Does the amazingly complex migration of the monarch butterfly show evidence of design?

The Butterfly’s Wing

The surface of the Blue Morpho’s wing may look smooth but it has features that can be seen only with a microscope. What are they for?

The Light-Absorbing Butterfly Wing

Something more is involved than the dark color of some butterfly wings.

The V-Shaped Pose of the Cabbage White Butterfly—Was It Designed?

What is it about the cabbage white butterfly that has helped engineers to design better solar panels?

The Remarkable Hearing of the Greater Wax Moth

With its simple ear, it can do something better than any other known animal.

The Shell of the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle​—Was It Designed?

How is this beetle able to withstand great amounts of pressure?

The Sensors of the Black Fire Beetle

What can engineers and researchers learn from this unique beetle?

The Dung Beetle’s Navigation Skill

What visual navigation system does the dung beetle use? And what might humans be able to learn from it?

The Lantern of the Photuris Firefly—Was It Designed?

How has this tiny insect inspired scientists to make brighter LEDs, which are used in many electronic devices?

The Haltere of the Fly

Have you ever wondered why the fly is so hard to catch? See what scientists have discovered.

The Fruit Fly’s Aerobatic Ability

These insects make turns similar to those made by fighter jets, but in a fraction of a second.


The Jumping Spider’s Blurry Vision

How does this spider calculate precise distance? Why do researchers want to copy its technique?

The House Spider’s Sticky Secret

The house spider’s web is strong when it needs to be and weak when it needs to be. Examine how and why.


The Shock-Absorbent Skin of the Pomelo​—Was It Designed?

How do scientists hope to make use of the pomelo fruit’s ability to absorb impact?

The Brilliant Blue of the Pollia Berry

This berry contains no blue pigment, yet it exhibits the most intense blue known in any plant. What is the secret behind its brilliant color?

The Flight of the Dandelion Seed​—Was It Designed?

The dandelion seed is four times more efficient than a conventional parachute, and it is also more stable.

The Mathematical Ability of Plants

Researchers found that a mustard plant showed a fascinating ability.

Microscopic World

The Storage Capacity of DNA

DNA has been dubbed the “ultimate hard drive.” Learn why.

Microorganisms That Break Down Oil

How well can they clean up oil spills compared with modern technology?