Geckos have gained ecological access to novel microhabitats by exploiting intermolecular van der Waals forces, which allow them to climb smooth vertical surfaces. They use microscopic surface-based phenomena to thrive in a macroscopic mass- and kinetic energy-based world. Here we detail this as a premier example of integrative biology, spanning seven orders of magnitude and a lot of interesting biology. Emergent properties arising from molecular adhesion include several adaptive radiations that have produced a great diversity of geckos worldwide.
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