Over billions of years, evolution has found many different ways for living beings to move from one place to another. But why do creatures move around at all? The reason for this behaviour are the driving forces of nature.
In every region of Earth, the conditions for life are changing all the time. Sunshine or rain, wind or thunderstorm, hail or snow, variable temperatures as well as differing durations of day and night: these everchanging conditions are driving creatures, as these are always looking for a better life – mostly, it’s about more food and water, or about shelter against the weather, or predators.
No matter if creatures have two legs or four, six or eight, or even hundreds: crawling and walking, running and jumping seem the most natural ways of getting forward, at least for us humans – because this is how we do it ourselves.
Yet, a lot of animals also use their limbs to climb trees or rocks, like cats, monkeys, or bears. Also, they can use legs and arms to move through water – by swimming. Some creatures, like squid and octopus, even have eight arms to crawl over coral reef or the sea floor. But these cephalopods also developed “jet engines” inside their bodies, to be able and push themselves faster through the water.
Fish and marine mammals use fins – in most cases evolutionary remnants of limbs – to propel themselves through rivers, lakes, and oceans. On the other side, there are snakes who have no legs at all, and who are slithering through water, as well as over pretty much every terrain there is.
Other creatures’ forward limbs have evolved into wings – this way enabling birds to take to the air. Also, a few mammals have learned to fly actively by flapping their wings – bats, in the first place. Some animals can at least glide through the air on special wings of their own, e.g., flying squirrels, flying dragons, or flying fish.
Countless insect species have developed the ability of flight, too, like bees and dragonflies, beetles and butterflies, and many more.
And then there are even more exotic ways of moving, like the “cartwheeling” of the Golden wheel spider in the deserts of Namibia. This spider is escaping predatory wasps by using its legs to form a “wheel”. This way, the spider can quickly roll down dunes to safety.
Watch, learn, and marvel at the many ways of loco-motions of creatures, and experience the bounty of nature’s “loco-motifs” to keep life on Earth on the move – and thus alive.
A production of Terra Mater Factual Studios