A team of scientists and engineers have developed a simple device enables seeds to bury themselves in soil.  They were inspired by the seeds of a plant Erodium cicutarium aka stork’s bill geranium.  These seeds have a corkscrew shaped tail that coils and uncoils with changing moisture levels and this movement drills the seeds into the soil.  Backward pointing spines on the seeds ensure the seeds stay in the soil. 

The research team designed a device consisting of a corkscrew coil with three curved tails projecting out from one end.  The device is made of thin strips of oak veneer, making use of the natural structure of the wood, which consists of layers of cells which expand with changing moisture.  The cells on the inner side expand and contract to a greater extent than the outer side so the coil and curved tails open and close when wet with rain and then dry out.  When the seeds attached to this device are dropped onto the ground the curved tails ensure it land with the seed pointing into the soil.  The movement of the coil and tails then forces the seed into the ground. 

The researchers developed the device to enhance the efficiency of aerial seeding from a flying drone.  The device is strong enough to hold a “payload” up to 11mm long and weighing 72mg, so it could carry seeds packaged with bio-fertilisers and symbiotic fungi. 

At present making the devices is very labour intensive, but the researchers hope the process can be automated to produce large numbers to be used in land regeneration projects.  A commentary about the device in Nature News and Views states: “The authors’ ability to tailor their seed carriers for different payloads and forces is impressive and shows that wood is still a state-of-the-art material.”

References: Science (AAAS) News video 15 February 2023; Nature Video 15 February 2023; Nature News and Views 15 February 2023; Nature 15 February doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05656-3

Editorial Comment:  As one who delights in wood and wooden things this editor is pleased to see a world class scientific journal describe wood as being “state of the art”. 

This team of scientists and engineers are to be congratulated for designing and making this clever and potentially useful device.  However, that means they should be giving praise to the Creator of Erodium cicutarium seeds, which inspired the design, and the “state of the art” material the device is made from.  God’s word tells us people are without excuse for failing to recognise their Creator because He has made his nature clear in the things that He has made.  (Romans 1:20) 

He has also made his power and authority known through Jesus Christ, who is Creator, Judge and Saviour.  Anyone who has studied and worked with God’s state of the art materials and devices will be held accountable for failing to give thanks to their Creator when they meet Him as their Judge, if they have not put their trust in Christ as Saviour. 

Read our report about the self-planting Erodium seeds here.

Creation Research News 3 March 2023

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