Los Angeles-An image of a Taiwan blue magpie in full flight graces the cover of the latest issue of the scientific journal Cell, in what a Taiwanese American researcher has described as a nod to Taiwan's strength in scientific research.
The journal features a Taiwanese-U.S. collaborative study published Nov. 27 titled "The Making of a Flight Feather: Bio- architectural Principles and Adaptation," which explores how the structure and evolution of feathers allow birds to take to the air, said Taiwan-born U.S. scientist Cheng-Ming Chuong, one of the researchers in the study.
The results of the study also bring revolutionary ideas to the design and development of biomimetic materials -- materials developed using inspiration from nature -- Chuong added.
The study examines the evolution of flight feathers by comparing those that have evolved to adapt to current environments with those that were preserved in amber around 100 million years ago.
The study was spearheaded by Taiwan's China Medical University and the University of Southern California (USC), with contributions from eight other universities and research institutions.
"The study is particularly meaningful because it shows the results of cross-disciplinary research and cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S.," said Chuong, who is an academician in life sciences at Taiwan's Academia Sinica and a professor at the Department of Pathology at USC.
It was not easy for the study to pass the rigorous peer reviews to gain the recognition of top scientists, he said, noting that some of the commentators on the study said that the research equates to creating a new field that integrates multiple disciplines such as developmental biology, evolutionary biology, environmental ecology and paleontology.
Chuong added that even though he lives abroad, he still works with Taiwan's scientific community and is proud of the results and the strength in research exhibited by his Taiwanese colleagues.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel