AskNature Biomimicry Website


AskNature is the only free, open-source website devoted to cataloging nature’s survival strategies by biological function. For example, when engineers want to know how nature adheres, they could type “attach” in AskNature and find corresponding strategies, such as the specialized pads of sucker-footed bats and sticky proteins that help mussels attach to wet, dirty surfaces.

These strategy pages provide users with a summary of the inspiring organism’s tactic, an excerpt from a scientific journal, expert references, photographs or videos and possible design applications or current products based on the strategy. The strategy pages also contain natural history information about the organism, including if it is in danger of extinction, as well as the chance for users to comment or share design ideas.

The Biomimicry Institute launched AskNature in 2008 to foster a respect for life based on what we can learn from nature rather than on what we can extract from it. We are not the first species to build, purify water, fight infection or fly. Living things have done everything we want to do, without guzzling fossil fuel, polluting the planet or mortgaging their future. After 3.8 billion years of research and development, the species that exist today have secrets to survival that we can learn from and emulate. AskNature brings biology out of the darkness of journals and laboratories and into a common space—a free, open-source space—and puts scientific language into accessible terms that biologists, physicists, chemists, as well as architects, business leaders and designers can understand.

The goal of AskNature is to give innovators access to nature’s strategies, so that when they begin a project, the first question they ask is: “How would nature do this?”

Designed by
Janine Benyus, Sherry Ritter, Megan Schuknecht, Jon-Michael Deldin,
Andrea Leggitt and Ali Solomon (United States of America), 2008

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