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Miniaturization and Design: The Case of the Fairy Wasp

Evolution News

William Dembski has noted that among the “criteria by which we identify and assess the intelligence responsible for contrivance,” along with “functional interdependence of parts, elegance, reliability, complexity and redundancy,” we shouldn’t overlook miniaturization. The skill to contrive a computer that sits comfortably on your lap overshadows the skill it once took to build one, of lesser computing power, that took up an entire room’s worth of space.
It’s interesting to note, in this context, a recent article by Russian entomologist Alexey A. Polilov in Arthropod Structure & Development describing one of the world’s smallest animals, the fairy wasp (Megaphragma mymaripenne), which is roughly the size of an amoeba or a paramecium. See an illustration here for comparison’s sake. There are some design compromises required in getting the thing down to that incredibly tiny size, yet it’s a fully functioning, flying animal that measures a fantastically modest 200 micrometers from end to end. Try building one of those at home.

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Darwin on TrailDavid Berlinskidesignevolutionfairy waspNaturePhillip E. JohnsonWilliam Dembski