Saturday, October 10, 2015

3 Superstar Organisms/System

Great White Shark

Shark research citations:

  • Sharks have super senses. They can detect prey from more than a mile away. They have a sensory element, called "the lateral line" that is made up of nerves that runs the length of their bodies and fans out at their head and jaw. It picks up subtle vibrations and pressure changes in the water. They can actually "feel" their prey. Specialized nerves found in pores in a shark's nose, called Ampulae of Lorenzini, can detect even weak electrical charges, such as heartbeats and muscle movements, of creatures hidden in sand.
  • Sharks heal from their injuries very quickly. In the wild, it has been observed that sharks can heal from major bite wounds and gashes very fast because they are proficient at replacing body parts such as teeth and fin spines.
  • Shark vision is 10X more sensitive to light than human vision. They can see very well in deep and dark waters. Plus they have a nicitating membrane that is a clear shield that protects the eye during attacks.
  • Sharks have cancer-immune skin. Experiments have shown that, in a lab, when a shark's skin was exposed to UV light 600X what we are exposed to, it did not develop melanoma. It just developed a really great tan! ;)

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp research citations:

  • A mantis shrimp's compound eyes have so many neurons, they are capable of actually seeing cancer cells. Since polarized light reflects differently off cancerous cells than it does off of healthy cells, the mantis shrimp's sensitivity to polarized light would make them capable of deciphering the difference. This technology has been replicated in the medical world.
  • Energy is stored in a mantis shrimp's spring loaded arm. The energy is released in a wallop of a punch when it is delivered to its prey. It can break through the hardest of crustacean shells and even through aquarium glass, with the force of a .22 caliber bullet.

Water Bear/Tardigrade

Water Bear research citations:

  • Tardigrades, or Water Bears, are practically indestructible. They can survive in the most extreme temperatures, from absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) to well above the boiling point (100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  • They can endure pressures 6x higher than the deepest ocean trenches (6 x 36,000 ft = 216,000)
  • They can go without food or water for 10 years, reducing their water content to 3%.
  • They are able to withstand "ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for humans to the vacuum of outer space." (Wikipedia)

The Endocrine System

Endocrine System citations:

  • The Endocrine system is a group of glands that produces hormones and carries them to major organs via the circulatory system. Major glands include the pineal, pituitary pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract and adrenal glands.
  • The pituitary gland is located at the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. It is responsible for secreting 9 hormones that control homeostasis, or equilibrium.
  • The pituitary gland also produces hormones that are responsible for growth, reproduction and lactation in mothers.
  • The thyroid gland affects growth, metabolic rate and development of bones and skeletal muscle.
  • The parathyroid produces a hormone that increases blood calcium by stimulating bone calcium release into the bloodstream increasing the absorption rate of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.

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