The new research has found that woodpeckers have a shock absorber system that consists of four components.The woodpecker has an elastic beak that helps reduce the shock, a soft structure underlying the tongue, spongy bone in its skull, and a vibration-suppressing interaction between the skull and spinal fluid.
Discovering this system is only the first step. Researchers are now investigating how to take advantage of this design. In one experiment the woodpecker-inspired design was used to protect microelectronic circuitry. The entire system was fitted inside a bullet and the microelectronic were protected in impacts of up to an amazing 60,000 g's.
This technology has potential applications in airborne flight data recorders (which can withstand shocks of 1000 g's), automobiles and spacecraft. As one engineer observed:
This study is a fascinating example of how nature develops highly advanced structures in combination to solve what at first seems to be an impossible challenge. It may inform our thinking on regenerative dampers for vehicles, redirecting the energy into a form more easily recoverable than dumping it to heat. Ultimately, we need to learn from the woodpecker to recover energy and not give the driver a headache.
And how do evolutionists explain the development of such "highly advanced structures in combination"? They say that random biological variation, such as mutations, just happened to produce this system. They say that fortunately, there just happened to be a long series of gradual improvements leading to the final design. They don't know what those intermediate designs were, and there must have been many, but they are sure they exist. Somehow, amazing designs over and over just happen to be in a long series of useful, though unknown, intermediates.