I hate rain as much as the next person. I'm sure my mum wasn't a big fan either, and the rest of my ancestors probably weren't wild about water falling from the sky. But nowhere along the line did any of them develop skin that forces water droplets to explosively launch off.
A pair of scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia observed the phenomenon, dubbed 'geckovescense'. As it turns out, geckos have a coating of minuscule, hair-like structures called spinules. The structures cause water droplets to clump together, which then subsequently causes the droplets to self-propel off the surface, thanks to
magic energy changes during the clumping process.
The scientists hypothesise that the mechanism developed as a method of self-cleaning, or to prevent water-hungry microbes from feasting on geckos' skin. In any case, you can be sure it's only a matter of months before Gore-Tex co-opt the idea and turn it into a (really expensive) jacket. Just another way geckos are far, far cooler than you. [New Scientist]