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   xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Nov 23 01:03 AM

Nov 23, 2014: Tooth

I don't think the Tooth Fairy wants any part of this tooth, it comes from a predatory marine snail, Conus ermineus.

We’re lucky this snail is only 2 to 4 inches long because that tooth works more like a harpoon. The snail has a whole battery of these venomous harpoons in its throat, with one always locked & loaded. When food is detected, usually a small fish, it fires the tooth which injects the prey with a neurotoxin cocktail that paralyzes the prey almost instantly. Then old Ahab just reels in the food and swallows it whole.

This picture came from the Olympus BioScapes 2013 Winners Gallery, and was entered by Dr. Alan Kohn and Dr. Joshua Kubo at the University of Washington.

Griff  Sunday Nov 23 09:37 AM

Amazing that evolutionary processes and humans solved similar problems in similar fashion. Patterns everywhere!

Diaphone Jim  Saturday Nov 29 12:52 PM

I tried unsuccessfully to get the BioScapes page open.
Every time I see that nasty looking harpoon, I think it is made of silver.
I guess it is about a half-inch long, and can cause fairly serious human injury.
The snail is also called Ermine's Tail, Agate Cone and (let this roll off your tongue) Hermelinschwanz-Kegelschnecke.
They (at least the shells) are popular with collectors.

Gravdigr  Saturday Nov 29 03:24 PM

Originally Posted by Diaphone Jim View Post
Every time I see that nasty looking harpoon, I think it is made of silver.
Why would you think it's made out of a horse?

Diaphone Jim  Saturday Nov 29 03:52 PM

That would have been Silver, would it not?

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