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Nature Got There First: Inventions Inspired by Nature

Press: Kingfisher; 2 edition (June 8, 2010)
Publication Date:2010-6
Author Name:Gates, Phil


Birds conquered the air long before the Wright Brothers, the burrs on plants are uncannily similar to velcro fastenings, rattlesnakes have an alarm system, bats and dolphins have their own form of sonar... 
Nature is full of amazing designs and ‘mechanisms' that appear to have inspired the engineering and technology we use today.
Nature Got There First by Dr.
Phil Gates shows you how and why.


“This book shows that many of the solutions humans have developed are similar to adaptations in plants and animals. 
this book would make an excellent resource as part of a unit on human inventions and natural adaptations.
It could be used to in spark students' interest in design technology, invention, and engineering.” ―NSTA Recommends“The well-chosen images are both inviting and clearly illustrate the points made in the text and captions.
This is an informative, appealing look at the connections between natural and human design.” ―Booklist

About the Author

Dr Phil Gates lectures on biology at the University of Durham, UK, and regularly writes for BBC Wildlife. 
His other books for children on natural history include The Aliens Are Coming, The Amazing World of Plants and 365 Days of Nature and Discovery.


Children's Books,Science, Nature & How It Works,Inventions & Inventors,How Things Work,Education & Reference,Science Studies,Biology

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Although clearly written for young children, I used this book to spark interest in animal form and function in my college students. It helped to open their eyes to why learning about different organisms can be useful.

  •     After receiving a copy of a review about "Nature Got There First" in my teacher's box at school placed there by the principal, I thought: Hmm, this is more than a hint. So I ordered the book for our school library. I'm the librarian. I do things like that.On the first page in the book (6), the student learns that George de Mestral came up with the idea for Velcro by studying seedheads like burdock (burs) that stick to passing animals which carry them away from that original plant. Voila! The connections are obvious: Indeed, nature got there first!On the second page the student learns that frogs have a kind of antifreeze in their veins to prevent them from freezing during very cold weather. Or that the potter wasp makes nests out of clay whereas people make clay containers for storage.That's what I like about this book. Bam! Bam! And another fact! And another: The height of trees in nature caused those thickening trunks at the bottoms like buttresses. The vertebra of dinosaurs is the equivalent of I-Beams in skyscrapers. And so on.The beaver builds dams that last for centuries! (it's in the book on p. 11). A cereal awn is a self-planter. The drills used in boring oil wells follow a similar pattern. A fishing net works along the same principle as a blue whale's baleen which filters and collects krill (tiny, shrimp-like creatures).Pincers, tweezers, and the dentist's probe came directly from nature in the forms of toothed jaws and birds' beaks. Then there's the aye-aye with its long middle finger that probes and picks. Do you know that birds were first to sleep under downy comforters? Yes, their own feathery down!What do jellyfish and birds, gliders and sailing boats have in common? Gliding and sailing by similar patterns. Armadillos and medieval knights? Barbed wire and blackberry vines? A fish can sense underwater movement similar to seismographs.In addition to all these comparisons are color illustrations and photographs to "show" how each works, making this book useful to emergent readers as well as ones who have fully developed skills. The book will appeal to the 9-12 audience, as well as inquiring minds who always and forever will want to know (you know--adults)!The last pages, 58-64, contain a glossary, index, and acknowledgments for reproduced materials. The book was published in 2010, making it very current.

  •     This is a really nice book! Very educational and fun at the same time. I bought this for my grandson who is 9.


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