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Treading on the spiky shell of a sea urchin is a constant worry for even the most dauntless ocean swimmer.
But while it is the long skin-puncturing spines which makes them so recognisable, they have also been revealed to possess another pointy-edged body part.
Biologists - Creatures - Teeth
Biologists have found that the creatures are equipped with self-sharpening teeth.
In the same way in which cutting a knife will sharpen the blade, the teeth of pink sea urchins are purposefully designed to slightly erode and give it a more jagged point.
Dr - Horacio - Espinosa - Northwestern - University
Dr Horacio Espinosa of Northwestern University, Illinois, who led the research said: 'The material on the outer layer of the tooth exhibits a complex behavior of plasticity and damage that regulates 'controlled' chipping of the tooth to maintain its sharpness.'
He explained that, to make up for the loss of material, an urchin's teeth continue to grow throughout life.
Biologists - Sea - Urchins - Teeth - Creatures
Biologists have long suspected that pink sea urchins have self-sharpening teeth, but could not figure out how the creatures managed to break parts of the...
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