Biological Mechanisms of Attachment: The Comparative Morphology and Bioengineering of Organs for Linkage, Suction, and Adhesion

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Bioengineering is the branch of biology which applies the methods of engineering and physics to the study of biological phenomena, and the vocabulary of technology to describe them. Particularly with respect to the mechanics of movement and other physiological processes, the advantages of this approach are obvious. But other fields of study also reveal new insights when biotechnical research methods are applied, and one of these is the comparative morphology of biological structures. At the very least, description in technical terms permits complete, concise organization of a field of research, provides a means of describing biological forms in terms consistent with their function, and aids in working out interpretations based on structural design and functional anatomy. It is from this point of view that the present book describes and discusses, on a comparative basis, biological mechanisms of at- tachment. Although these are among the simplest biological mechanisms, they are fascinating in their diversity. This presentation is, in a way, an outgrowth of that encyclopedic drive which is within every scientist. Over the years, whole libraries of books have been scanned as a result of this general curiosity; the library of the Munich Zoological Institute has proved a particularly valuable source of information. This little book is a much ab- breviated distillation of the several thousand file cards which resulted from this urge to collect.