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The Scoop: Octopus Beak Inspires Medical Community

If you can believe it, there just might be a connection between an Octopus's beak and better artificial limbs for humans! I've noticed an upswing in sea life inspiring new inventions recently, and this one is no exception. If you think of how seemingly uncomfortable artificial limbs are now – hard all the way through causing abrasions on amputated limbs – then the octopus may be able to help with a solution to the problem.


The trick to an octopus munching on huge, bone-filled fishies is the tough-as-nails beak. But how the heck can it have a beak with no bones, and keep from hurting itself? That's the question that researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara think they have figured out: The octopus beak gradates from super hard to squishy soft as it meets other tissue. So, if you think of an X-acto knife sticking out of a bowl of Jello, only the knife gets softer the closer it gets to the bottom of the bowl, then you'll sort of get the idea. If artificial limbs had softer consistencies where they connected to limbs and were bone tough at the tips to withstand damage then it would help make amputees' lives more comfortable. Who knew that sea creatures could be so helpful to us land dwellers!?

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