About 1,400 species of geckos roam the Earth. Their lineage dates back 200 million years, making them the oldest group of living lizards. They’re even older than the dinosaurs.
But scientists have only recently begun to understand their remarkable abilities to stick to – and easily release from – surfaces such as rocks, trees, and ceilings.
“Geckos’ toe pads allow them to move through an environment in the way no other organism can,” says gecko–feet expert Travis Hagey of the University of Idaho.
Hagey’s most recent research – funded by the National Science Foundation’s BEACON Center for Evolution in Action – focuses on building the most finely detailed models of gecko toe pads ever created.