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Flightless animals have evolved diverse mechanisms to control their movements in air, whether falling with gravity or propelling against it. Many insects jump as a primary mode of locomotion and must therefore precisely control the large torques generated during takeoff. For example, to minimize spin (angular momentum of the body) at takeoff, plant-sucking bugs apply large equal and opposite torques from two propulsive legs. Interacting gear wheels have evolved in some to give precise synchronization of these legs. Once airborne, as a result of either jumping or falling, further adjustments may be needed to control trajectory and orient the body for landing.

We show that when making targeted jumps, juvenile wingless mantises first rotated their abdomen about the thorax to adjust the center of mass and thus regulate spin at takeoff. Once airborne, they then smoothly and sequentially transferred angular momentum in four stages between the jointed abdomen, the two raptorial front legs, and the two propulsive hind legs to produce a controlled jump with a precise landing. Experimentally impairing abdominal movements reduced the overall rotation so that the mantis either failed to grasp the target or crashed into it head first. (1, 2)

We believe one must “know” in order to “do”.

But “doing” is before “knowing”.

Living is before understanding.

Try to understand and you will instantly destroy your chance to DO anything.

The mantis does not understand anything about torque, rotation or momentum. And yet it flies perfectly like it does.

We must stop concentrating too much on understanding. And start living instead. I am sure someone else will be found to explain why we do live anyway…