Why Do Seahorses Have Square Tails?
Scientists use a 3D printer and a hammer to find out
by Mary Beth Griggs
We’ve got a lot to learn from a seahorse’s tail. Unlike other animals, these fishes’ tails are square, not round–a fundamental difference in shape that scientists believe could lead to new developments in medicine, robotics, and even defense.
In a paper published today in Science, researchers found that the difference in shape actually made a huge difference in how resilient the seahorse’s tail is.
In order to figure out why the seahorse tail is square while so many other animal’s tails are round (rats, lizards, monkeys, cats, etc.), scientists printed out 3D replicas of the square tails and similarly sized round tails.
Then they smashed them with a hammer…
(read more: Popular Science)
photograph: shellac/Flickr; illustration: Michael Porter, Clemson Univ.