Squid Beaks Make Awesome Prosthetic Limbs

It’s possible this is the freakiest medical breakthrough I’ve ever seen; scientists are trying to figure out how to make prosthetic limbs out of squid beaks.

13383732892066142400.jpgImage from vanveelen on Flickr

Scientists have apparently been mystified for some time at just how an animal with no bones can manage to operate a solid beak without injuring itself against the hard surface.

New research reveals, that the beak isn’t exactly what we thought it was– the tool/appendage/tooth changes density as it grows, allowing a very hard, compact cutting edge, and a softer, more user-friendly end where it joins into the flesh of the squid.

This has obvious benefits for makers of prosthetics, who hope to co-opt the manner in which the squid does this while building their own devices. Prosthetic limbs have long fostered issues with the rubbing and chafing of a hard surface against soft flesh, which can become a serious medical problem if it is allowed to proceed unchecked. The squid has been able to avoid this, and so with luck will the next generation of soldiers and trauma victims.