Interpretation of Jesus Christ’s reported ability to walk on water is left to biblical scholars. But scientists have figured out how so-called Jesus lizards are able to scurry across the surfaces of ponds and streams.
The findings improve understanding of the physics involved in walking in general and may have practical use in the development of walking robots.
The Jesus lizards, or basilisk lisards, accomplish the seemingly miraculous act of moving on top of water by generating forces with their feet that keep their bodies both above the surface and upright, according to Shi-Tong Tonia Hsieh. Hsieh is a graduate student in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University in Massachusetts.
The finding challenges established rules for the mechanics of legged locomotion, which are mostly known from studies of how animals walk across solid surfaces in a laboratory setting, Hsieh said.