OCT 29, 2017 03:53 PM PDT

Ancient Life Form Found to Use Glass for its Shape

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
2 1 162

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
JUL 09, 2018
Videos
JUL 09, 2018
How Spiders Use Electricity To Fly
Spider rains, or ballooning spiders, are a natural phenomenon believed by scientists to be caused by the silken threads of these unique insects that genera
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
How Dangerous is a Lightning Strike to an Airplane?
Lightning frequently strikes airplanes as they fly through the clouds thousands of feet above the Earth’s surface, but is there any reason for airpla
AUG 02, 2018
Videos
AUG 02, 2018
Pregnancy-Related Deaths High in the United States
Among the industrialized countries, the US has the most maternal deaths, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. How can this rate be so high in a countr
AUG 08, 2018
Videos
AUG 08, 2018
Pesticide Use in Cannabis Farming
What's the first thing you do when you get home with freshly bought fruits and vegetables? You wash them off to make sure they are clean and free of re
AUG 11, 2018
Videos
AUG 11, 2018
Hit The Sweet Spot - MIT's Image Awards
MIT researchers are trying to engineer a smarter insulin.
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
Is Earth Running Out of Helium?
If current global demand continues, we can face a shortage of helium within the next 40 years. Helium is the second most common element after hydrogen
Loading Comments...