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Wow Lidah Bunglon 5X Lebih Cepat Daripada Pesawat Jet

Tuhan menciptakan sesuatu dengan desain yang maha sempurna. Desain organ pada binatang telah didesain sedemikan rupa sesuai dengan makanannya. Begitu juga bunglon. Akan tetapi dari binatang ini ditemukan fakta mencengangkan. Fakta tersebut adalah kecepatan super lidah bunglon menangkap mangsanya.

Jurriaan de Groot dari Universitas Leiden, dan Johan van Leeuwen dari Universitas Wageningen, mengambil film-film sinar X berkecepatan tinggi, yakni 500 bingkai per detik, dalam rangka menyelidiki bagaimana lidah bunglon bekerja ketika menangkap mangsa. Film-film ini menunjukkan bahwa ujung lidah bunglon mengalami percepatan 50 g (g = konstanta gravitasi). Percepatan ini lima kali lebih besar daripada yang dapat dicapai oleh sebuah jet tempur.

Buku-buku teks zologi menjelaskan bahwa lidah balistik bunglon diperkuat oleh seutas otot pemercepat (akselerator). Otot ini memanjang ketika menekan ke bawah pada tulang lidah, yang berupa tulang rawan kaku di tengah lidah, yang membungkusnya. Akan tetapi, dalam sebuah penelitian yang telah disetujui untuk diterbitkan oleh majalah ilmiah Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Series B), dua ahli morfologi yang memelajari kebiasaan makan bunglon menemukan unsur-unsur lain yang terkait dengan gerakan cepat lidah binatang ini.

Para peneliti ini membedah jaringan lidah dan menemukan bahwa otot pemercepat sama sekali tidak cukup kuat untuk menghasilkan gaya yang diperlukan ini sendirian. Dengan meneliti lidah bunglon, mereka menemukan keberadaan sedikitnya 10 bungkus licin, yang hingga saat itu belum diketahui, di antara otot pemercepat dan tulang lidah. Bungkus-bungkus ini, yang melekat ke tulang lidah di ujungnya yang terdekat dengan mulut, teramati mengandung serat-serat protein berajutan spiral.

Serat-serat ini memadat dan berubah bentuk ketika otot pemercepat mengerut dan menyimpan tenaga bagaikan seutas pita karet yang tertekan. Ketika mencapai ujung bulat tulang lidah, bungkus-bungkus yang ketat dan memanjang ini secara bersamaan menggelincir dan mengerut dengan kekuatan dan melontarkan lidah. Secepat serat-serat ini menggelincir dari tulang lidah, bungkus-bungkus saling memisahkan diri bagaikan tabung-tabung sebuah teleskop, dan karena itu lidah mencapai jangkauan terjauhnya. Van Leeuwen berkata, “ini adalah ketapel teleskopis.”

Ketapel ini memiliki ciri lain yang amat menyolok. Ujung lidah mengambil bentuk hampa pada saat menghantam mangsa. Ketika terlontar, lidah ini dapat menjulur sejauh enam kali panjangnya ketika istirahat di dalam mulut, dan dua kali panjang tubuhnya sendiri.

Kelompok-kelompok otot dengan sifat-sifat yang berbeda tanpa cela melontarkan lidah, memercepatnya, menyebabkan lidah mengambil bentuk isap ketika menghantam mangsanya dan lalu cepat-cepat menariknya. Kelompok-kelompok otot ini sama sekali tidak saling menghalangi fungsi masing-masing, namun bekerja dengan cara yang terselaraskan dalam menghantam mangsa dan menarik lidah kembali ke mulut dalam waktu kurang dari sedetik. Tambahan lagi, berkat kerjasama antara sistem penglihatan dan otak, kedudukan mangsa diukur dan perintah bagi lidah balistik untuk “menembak!” diberikan oleh syaraf yang mengirimkan isyarat di dalam otak.