Jump School

on March 1, 2019

Scientists have trained a spider to jump on command. That fact alone speaks volumes about the intelligence packed into a tiny package. But it gets better.

They found that the spider, which they named Kim, calculated much more than simply how much force to apply in each jump. She uses different combinations of muscles and adjusts the position of her legs depending on the purpose of her jumps. Short, horizontal jumps use more energy than long or high jumps. That’s because those jumps are for catching prey, so speed is more important than saving energy.

On the other hand, for long-distance jumps Kim jumps at a steeper, more efficient angle. The force she musters for some jumps is five times her weight. Researchers are trying to determine how much of the jump force comes from the spider’s muscles and how much comes from hydraulic pressure—quickly forcing blood from the body into the legs.

In addition to learning more about spiders specifically, scientists hope to use their discoveries for practical applications. Truly, spiders live “in king’s palaces,” and are worthy of such honor because the King of glory made them (Proverbs 30:28 (KJV)).

This article was taken from Answers magazine, September–October, 2018, pg 32.