The Steady Gaze of Flies: An Engineering Marvel | The Institute for Creation Research
The Steady Gaze of Flies: An Engineering Marvel

Scientists at Imperial College in London have flies on their minds. "Anyone who has watched one fly chasing another at incredibly high speed, without crashing or bumping into anything, can appreciate the high-end flight performance of these animals,” Dr. Holger Krapp of the Department of Bioengineering said in an Imperial College news release.1

Dr. Krapp and his colleagues are conducting research to help answer a long-standing mystery: how is information from fly eyes transformed into appropriately responsive muscle contraction so quickly? He concluded, “The pathway from visual signal to head movement is ingeniously designed: it uses information from both eyes, is direct, and does not require heavy computing power.”1

This research, published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology,2 describes how visual data is coordinated and processed in the fly brain to make quick and accurate head-leveling adjustments. “Keeping the head level and gaze steady is a fundamental task for all animals that rely on vision to help control their movements,” Dr. Krapp said.1

Both the neurons that gather visual data from the eyes and the neurons triggering neck muscles to contract are “tuned” or predisposed to selecting and processing the same kind of information. The study is an important step in understanding how nerves communicate information. Similar technology could be used to develop flying robots that can independently stay steady without crashing.

A theoretical proto-fly that had not yet evolved this neuronal coordination would have been easy prey. The presence of such a marvel of engineering in the natural realm elicits consideration of the possibility that it was engineered by a Creator, as well as awe at the engineering savvy of that Creator.

References

  1. It takes nerves for flies to keep a level head. Imperial College London News Release, posted online July 25, 2008, accessed July 25, 2008.
  2. Huston, S. and H. G. Krapp. 2008. Visuomotor Transformation in the Fly Gaze Stabilization System. Public Library of Science Biology. 6 (7): e173.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on July 30, 2008.

The Latest
NEWS
Human Genome 20th Anniversary—Junk DNA Hits the Trash
The first rough drafts of the human genome were reported in 2001 (one in the private sector and one in the public sector).1-2 Since then, after...

NEWS
Bacterial Proteins Use Quantum Mechanics
Researchers have found a dimmer switch inside a protein. It tunes the protein’s configuration to take advantage of quantum mechanics during photosynthesis....

NEWS
Dr. Bill Cooper, ICR’s Adjunct Professor, Now in Glory
Earlier last month on March the 9th, Dr. William R. Cooper, ICR’s Master Faculty (known to ICR-SOBA’s faculty as “Dr. Bill” since...

NEWS
Inside April 2021 Acts & Facts
How will ICR expand biblical creation education this year? How do fossilized fish and land creatures confirm Genesis history? Does recent research support...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Bees
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Pleasure in Our Purpose
Eric Liddell was one of the most famous athletes of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest that Scotland ever produced. An international rugby player,...

APOLOGETICS
Beware Sinkholes and Other Failing Foundations
The sudden falling of some Christian schools can be compared to tiankengs, the geological term used for sinkholes that are at least 300 feet deep.1,2...

ACTS & FACTS
The Painted Desert: Fossils in Flooded Mud Flats
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Painted Desert stretches across 120 miles of northern Arizona. Its sedimentary rocks show bright...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Recent Research Support Human Evolution?
In 1997, the Institute for Creation Research ran an Acts & Facts article on the lack of compelling evidence regarding our supposed evolution from...

ACTS & FACTS
Building a Perfectly Optimal Flying Machine
For thousands of years, people have dreamed of flying because they witnessed birds and knew it was possible. Inspired by a study of birds, the Wright...