The new research perspective on toads' tongue may help in the development of more efficient electric motors, better prostheses and new medical treatments for neuromuscular diseases like Parkinson's.
A Northern Arizona University researcher is studying a cane toad from Suriname in order to understand the speed, power and energy behind it's ability to capture prey with its tongue.
Her studies may shed new light on how muscles function more as springs than motors.
The jaw muscles of toad can produce forces greater than 700 times the animal's weight.
The best electric motor achieves about one-third of that force-to-weight ratio, Live Science quoted Nishikawa, as saying.
When a toad or chameleon captures prey with its tongue, it exerts force over a distance. Figuring out how they do it has immense application to any device that actually moves, she added.