Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Learning About Symmetry In Everyday Life

Did you know that starfish and humans start out life with the same type of structure? While starfish grow into five-pointed organisms and humans are close to mirror image in form, they both start out as bilateral (mirror image) as embryos.

It is not only animals which show symmetry in nature. Plants also show a balance of shape. Although human being are not entirely symmetrical, we develop bilaterally and our outsides appear to be close to symmetrical, that is, having a mirror image. In reality, our interior organs are not symmetrical and even our hearts , the very shape we imagine to be symmetrical, are often “lying down on the job” and pointing one way or the other.

There are various forms of symmetry. When we think of symmetry, we most often think of the mirror image symmetry, the kind that we think of when we see two hands, two feet, two eyes and other body parts. However, there is also rotational symmetry and even radial symmetry in the natural world, ranging from small organisms to theories on the shape of the universe.

Plant symmetry is approximate. Bees often guide themselves toward flowers by a visual perception of types of symmetry which signal to the bee the kind of flower it is seeking.

Even in the world of beauty, our innate perception of symmetry impels us to judge who is attractive. According to an article by Charles Feng of Stanford University, symmetry in animals is perceived by others to be indicative of a strong immune system

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