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Below The Surface

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life Saving Caterpillar Guts

Many unknowns in the natural world have potential implications for human endeavors. If stewardship for sake of protecting what already exists, what we owe to our children, is not obvious in itself to the imprudent consumer, consider the attached article.  Societies most learned engineers, chemists, physicists and others sometimes revert to nature’s incredible offerings to find solutions to the seemingly insurmountable. The movement of the gut of a caterpillar becomes the model for the design of a new robot that might one day find trapped miners or earthquake survivors below the rubble of fallen buildings.  What if the Dwarf Wedgemussel, the Indiana Bat or Jesup’s Milk-vetch, all endangered species in Vermont, had something to offer fuure generations but they became extinct? Stewardship is not only about preserving species to maintain an ecological balance; it is about preserving the diversity of what we do not yet fully understand. Black bears’ metabolism during hibernation has offered insights into human kidney function.  Horseshoe crabs have benefited human medical care.  Stewardship to conserve what exists is more than a warm, fuzzy feeling for some longhaired, organic, tree-hugger. Stewardship is conservation of design and function not yet fully known and perhaps, one day, much needed.

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