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Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth

Dragon
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Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth Empty Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth

Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:39 am

A rare iron mineral called santabarbaraite has never before been seen in a living organism, according to a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Chitons are flattened, bilaterally symmetrical marine mollusks in the class Polyplacophora.

These creatures live worldwide, from cold waters through to the tropics.

Their teeth are one of the hardest known materials in nature. They are attached to a soft, flexible, tongue-like radula, which scrapes over rocks to collect algae and other food.

“We’ve been fascinated by the chiton for a long time,” said study senior author Dr. Derk Joester, a researcher in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

“Mechanical structures are only as good as their weakest link, so it’s interesting to learn how the chiton solves the engineering problem of how to connect its ultrahard tooth to a soft underlying structure.”


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:42 am

Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth Image_9716_1-Cryptochiton-stelleri
Image credit: Jerry Kirkhart.

Cryptochiton stelleri.

“This remains a significant challenge in modern manufacturing, so we look to organisms like the chiton to understand how this is done in nature, which has had a couple hundred million years of lead time to develop.”


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:44 am

Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth Image_9716_2-Cryptochiton-stelleri
Image credit: Northwestern University.

SEM image of the anterior end of the radula with mature teeth of Cryptochiton stelleri.

n the study, Dr. Joester and his colleagues examined the teeth of Cryptochiton stelleri, a giant, reddish-brown chiton that is sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘wandering meatloaf.’

They found a mineral called santabarbaraite dispersed throughout the chiton’s upper stylus, a long, hollow structure that connects the head of the tooth to the flexible radula membrane.


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:46 am

Chitons have a shell composed of eight separate shell plates or valves.

These plates overlap slightly at the front and back edges, and yet articulate well with one another.

Because of this, the shell provides protection at the same time as permitting the chiton to flex upward when needed for locomotion over uneven surfaces, and even allows the animal to curl up into a ball when dislodged from rocks.

The shell plates are encircled by a skirt known as a girdle.


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:49 am

Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth 640px-Tonicella-lineata
By Kirt L. Onthank

This is a Lined Chiton, Tonicella lineata.

This picture was taken at about 50 feet depth on the west side of Whidbey Island, Washington.


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:51 am

Scientists Find Rare Mineral inside Chiton Teeth Cryptochiton_stelleri_underside
By Professor Douglas Eernisse

The underside of the gumboot chiton, Cryptochiton stelleri, showing the foot in the center, surrounded by the gills and mantle: The mouth is visible to the left in this image


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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:53 am



Chitons of the Salish Sea


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