Scientists have stabbed cactus spines into the meat to study evolution

One dorsal spine has a half-pound piece of meat.
Photo: L. Brian Stauffer

One of the benefits of working at a farm school is the availability of meat. This is especially useful if you need something to insert cactus spikes.

Scientists were not so interested in meat as they were in determining the relationship between the structure of the cactus of the spine and how well its bumps and staying anchored inside the stuff that pierced it. In general, they hope to understand why cacti develop different bastions and, in general, how the shape of the bones in nature between the species depends on their functions.

And some sidewalks were really good at doing their job. "One backbone really impressed us with how it behaved on things," said Gizmodo Stephanie Crofts, a study author at the University of Illinois.

Scientists began collecting the five sidewalls of each of the six cactus samples. Tests were performed to measure the amount of force required to pierce the target material and how much of the spine was pressing against the surface of the material before it broke. First they penetrated the laboratory polymer, then they wanted to work with something more biologically relevant. So they bought some pork left from a university farm school, as well as some cooked chicken, said Crofts.

Jumping cholla cactus
Photo: L. Brian Stauffer

The sidewalls differed in their punching ability, but it turned out that the barrels of barrels took much less power to rotate the hole on the surface as untreated spikes, according to a study published in the Proceedings of Royal Society B. bent spikes remained anchored. The spine from the jumping cactus Cholla even raised a half-kilogram plate from the working surface, which required scientists to pull the meat.

Why should the backbone be so strong? Well, since new cacti can grow from certain parts of the jump balls that are denounced, called chairs, maybe they are spikes that are firmly adhering to an unlucky passerby, an evolutionary advantage. And unlike animals with visible parts, cacti can not decide who will be torn.

Color pins are not unique to cacti, but this lab at the University of Illinois examines all kinds of poker. Porchupins, for example, have similar barbed beads that prove that both seemed to be developed to be easily read and remain trapped inside the victim. And it's quite wild to think about how two very different species from different kingdoms can develop similar parts.

Jumping the backbone
Picture: Stephanie Crofts

"The research of these systems gives us the opportunity to compare evolution and biomechanics on both plants and animals," said Gizmodo Phil Anderson, a study author and assistant professor of biology of animals. "Often you do not have the possibility of a direct comparison."

It's even more like understanding animals. You probably have heard how to use a gecko foot or octopus to create bio-inspired technology for people. Studying the knot collection could allow engineers to develop an ideal, awkward and closed form.

The study is not an exhaustive view of the cactus spine, but researchers have further exploration options. However, it offers some insight into why cacti develop pins.

It is important, however, that you watch how you carry meat when you walk with a cactus with jumps.

[Proceedings B]

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