Biomechanics Exhibit at the Field

Animals that move through air and water have evolved a variety of wing and fin forms, as well as sleek, streamlined shapes that harness the power of fluid dynamics for propulsion. © Ernie Cooper 2012,

Every day, just using any part of our bodies to move, see, talk, or eat — among countless other activities, we are enjoying the biomechanics that have evolved to perform the functions necessary to survive. An exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago called, “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics” will be closing on January 4th, so this post is more of a celebration of the exhibit than an invitation to check it out. If you won’t be in Chicago before the 4th, they have a great website with photos and a good video.

Imagine if your jaws could crush over 8,000 pounds in one bite, your ears could act as air conditioners, and your legs could leap the length of a football field in a single bound. From the inside out, every living thing—including humans—is a machine built to survive, move, and discover.  Beginning March 12, 2014, investigate the marvels of natural engineering in The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. Explore how plants and animals stay in one piece despite the crushing forces of gravity, the pressure of water and wind, and the attacks of predators. Using surprising tactics, creatures endure the planet’s extreme temperatures, find food against fierce competition, and – without metal, motors or electricity – circulate their own life-sustaining fluids.

Feel for yourself how hard a giraffe’s heart works to pump blood up to its head.  Try to “fly” and study the many different ways creatures jump, gallop, slither, and swim. And see technological breakthroughs – like Velcro, wind turbines, and chainsaws – that were inspired by nature’s ingenuity. Discover how evolution is Earth’s greatest innovator, only at The Field Museum.

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