Friday Squid Blogging: Jumbo Squid Teeth

They’re strong and lightweight:

The teeth get their strength from architecture. A series of tooth pores runs through the protein, and on the outer edge the pores are spaced widely for a hard, shape edge that digs into the flesh of hapless prey. Toward the base, the pores are closer together, making a softer material that can absorb the prey’s thrashing without breaking.

Posted on February 20, 2009 at 4:48 PM5 Comments


Davi Ottenheimer February 20, 2009 6:48 PM

So if I read that correctly no crystals in the teeth that line the suckers means that it is all about the design. It can be replicated more easily because it is a single ingredient, and rigidity is related to the density/spacing of pores? Wait, is that really a discovery or just affirmation of existing theories of density?

Roger February 20, 2009 7:44 PM

I’m glad they are very unique; it wouldn’t have been as interesting if they were only a bit unique….

Several years ago Weaver hauled a jumbo squid aboard […] “We [… ]decided to keep studying the material.” The scientists were surprised by what they found.

I am frankly astonished that this is the first time anyone has ever studied the structure of squid suckers! The guy after whom this squid genus is named (once removed, via an ocean current), was doing this sort of study back in the EIGHTEENTH century!! There have been a lot of squid dissected and bottled since then. Can it really be that for two hundred odd years, no-one took a close look at one its most unique [sic!] features?

The protein teeth are lightweight and tough. The scientists predict that mimicking the structure could be ideal for lightweight composites for the automotive, aerospace, sports and medical industries.

Hmm. Lightweight composites consisting of a web of polymer reinforcing fibres embedded in a polymer matrix — we already have lightweight composites made in this way … Some of them even vary the fibre density to vary bulk properties at different parts of the material. If this squid discovery provides anything new, it must be in the actual pattern of the fibres — about which they frustratingly tell us nothing.

Clive Robinson February 22, 2009 5:14 PM

@ Roger,

“If this squid discovery provides anything new, it must be in the actual pattern of the fibres — about which they frustratingly tell us nothing.”

Well there is something else,

Which is how the voids get smaller and the composit more consolidated. That is it effectivly goes from a shock absorbing sponge to hard edge capable of griping flesh etc…

Afterall I’m assuming that these teeth grow continuously like our fingernails. So the consolidation process is of a great deal of interest.

Nod February 22, 2009 9:52 PM

I’m no cryptographer, and only kinda so-so at math, but here’s my question: Are multiple broken cryptographic ciphers, when combined, more secure than a single broken cipher?

Put more simply, can a single file have collisions for more than one algorithm? Even more simply, even though we know that both MD5 and SHA-1 hash algorithms are “broken”, if we “cross-hash” a file using both algorithms, are we any more “safe” in terms of integrity than if we only used one of the broken hashes?

My supposition is that as long as the “breaks” are fundamentally different between algorithms we might have a practical advantage, like a brick and mortar wall: stronger when put together than standing alone.

We know that for a given file we can create a fake file with the same MD5 hash; likewise SHA-1. The question is: can we create a fake file that will “break” both of these hashes simultaneously?

(Of course the real solution is to use a better and unbroken algorithm, but I’m just curious.)

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