Pink sea urchins have self-sharpening teeth

pink sea urchins have self sharpening teeth

Pink sea urchins house five teeth, each supported by a separate jaw in a circular arrangement at the center of their spiked spherical bodies.

But researchers at Northwestern have discovered that the teeth of pink sea urchins are specially equipped to self-sharpen themselves.

The tooth enamel breaks off regularly to sustain precision, like a knife sharpening upon a blade.

pink sea urchin teeth
Graphic: Cell.com

“The material on the outer layer of the tooth exhibits a complex behavior of plasticity and damage that regulates ‘controlled’ chipping of the tooth to maintain its sharpness,” said Northwestern University Professor Horacio Espinosa.

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The sea urchins continue to grow teeth throughout life, helping the sea urchins ward off predators.

pink sea urchin teeth
pink sea urchin teeth

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