Natural Selection has an uncanny way of trying and rejecting technologies that do not yield long-term benefits.
As an example, I contend that the fact that the wheel-and-axle does not occur in nature means that the approach is actually a dead-end. The fact that signals, nutrients and waste cannot pass through a fully rotating joint means that such a thing cannot have long-term utility for an organism.
When humans discovered and began using the wheel it was a wondrous, labor-saving device. However, it is likely that over the long term the overall energy costs and environmental pollution related to use of the wheel will make it non-viable. The inability to perform lubrication and maintenance across a fully-rotating joint means that we over-engineer the wheel to deal far beyond the worst-case usage. This means that non-degradable components outlast their normal application. The added burden, in the form of manufacturing costs and reduced resource availability, must be shared among all users.
Nature already has a stable of alternative options that do not involve these limitations. Sliding joints can provide load-bearing movement on two axes, are self-lubricating, self-repairing, capable of dynamic growth, allow unlimited passage of fluids and signals, and enable the static connection of musculature across the joint.
A corollary to this is the observation that nature will never use a rotary fan or impeller. If nature needs a pump it will either be based on peristalsis (the bowel) or the bellows for positive-displacement applications such as heart or lungs.
The natural choices exhibit incredibly high energy efficiency, are quiet, long-lasting, operate successfully at all scales as the organism grows, and are capable of functioning at speeds from zero up to their fluid-dynamic limit.
Natural components are created and assembled in-situ, on demand, at room temperature from a small menu of raw materials, adapted immediately to form and fit, and are, ultimately, easily degraded back into reusable materials. Conversely, every ball bearing ever created will end up in a landfill, taking their valuable, highly-refined raw materials with them.
These aspects should all be considered part of the “total cost of ownership” of a new technology. Nature has already factored in these line-items as part of the optimization between competing species. A wise designer would do well to emulate these successes.