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Squid Beaks May Have Medical Application
JonBaker | March 27, 2008 at 11:41 amby
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The razor-sharp beaks that giant squids use to attack whales _ and maybe even Captain Nemo's submarine _ might one day lead to improved artificial limbs for people.
That deadly beak may be a surprise to many people, and has long posed a puzzle for scientists. They wonder how a creature without any bones can operate it without hurting itself.
Now, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, report in Friday's edition of the journal Science that they have an explanation
The beak, made of hard chitin and other materials, changes density gradually from the hard tip to a softer, more flexible base where it attaches to the muscle around the squid's mouth, the researchers found.
That means the tough beak can chomp away at fish for dinner, but the hard material doesn't press or rub directly against the squid's softer tissues