Wild Inventions: Ideas Inspired by Animals

Lerner/Millbrook. (Sandra Markle’s Science Discoveries). Oct. 2023. 48p. Tr $31.95. ISBN 9781728467955.
Gr 4-6–The term “bioinspiration” may be a new one for young readers, but they will be fascinated to learn about how inventors observe animal strategies and adaptations to inspire new creations. Six pairs of animals and the subsequent technological advancements they’ve inspired are explored. Though the term “bioinspiration” was only coined in the 1960s, researchers estimate people have been observing animals and their adaptations as far back as cave men learning to camouflage after watching animals do the same. Seemingly dissimilar animal pairs are featured, such as honeybees and termites, each having to adapt to stay cool to survive. Their adaptations inspired early settlers to use evaporative cooling, which in turn has led to the modern invention of evaporative coolers. Some of the adaptations may be unfamiliar to readers, such as the connection between geckos and sandcastle worms, both of whom face sticky challenges. Geckos have been studied to see how they can adhere to walls, which scientists have used to create Geckskin for soldiers. Sandcastle worms create a gluelike substance that protects them underwater, and researchers were able to study them to create surgical glue. Markle’s incorporation of magnified and detailed color photographs make the scientific explorations reachable for young scientists. Brimming with full-color photographs and fascinating animals facts, STEM connections are plentiful.
VERDICT Budding young scientists will undoubtedly learn much from this title, and may imagine the role they could play in future bioinspired innovations.

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