OCT 29, 2017 03:53 PM PDT

Ancient Life Form Found to Use Glass for its Shape

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Sponges are an ancient life form, whose fossils go back half a billion years. Incredibly, one group of marine sponges maintains skeletal structures, called spicules, that are made of glass. They help protect the sponge as well as providing physical and mechanical strength.

Scientists wanted to know more about how the glass spicules are formed, a matter that has been debated. The scientists utilized a technique called x-ray nanotomography; it creates a three-dimensional model of an object without destroying it by taking many x-ray cross-sections.

That showed the investigators that the type of protein that makes up the spicule also determines its ultimate shape, which could be a spiky sphere, or might be thin needles. The work could help researchers figure out a new way to manipulate glass that does not require high heat, and that would make the production of solar cells and electronics easier.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 10, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 10, 2018
Heart Attack Or Panic Attack? Knowing When To Seek Help
Chest pain, shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom are all symptoms representative of both heart attacks and panic attacks. For this reason, i...
NOV 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 22, 2018
Why Are Dandelion Seeds So Good at "Flying"?
The seeds of dandelions, pesky and irritating as they are, bear an extraordinary aerodynamic property that allows them to be carried far by the wind. In co...
NOV 24, 2018
Videos
NOV 24, 2018
Bats may Hold the Secret to Longevity
Some bats can live for up to 41 years, and many have a very healthy life....
NOV 26, 2018
Videos
NOV 26, 2018
How to get rid of jet lag
Have you ever gone on an amazing trip somewhere only to have it totally ruined by jet lag? Jet lag is what we experience when our internal clocks are throw...
DEC 01, 2018
Videos
DEC 01, 2018
Identifying Disease-causing Gene Mutations
Genetic diseases can be traced back to an error in a gene. This video explores how the process works....
DEC 05, 2018
Videos
DEC 05, 2018
Male Contraceptive Gel is in Clinical Trials
Researchers have started a clinical trial involving 420 participants to test the efficacy of a male contraceptive gel....
Loading Comments...