THE AMAZING SEEING SKELETON OF THE BRITTLE STAR



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The brittle star has an amazing form of armor on its upper
surface. This part of its skeleton is studded with microscopic lenses that turn
the animal`s armor into a compound eye.
Brittle star is any echinoderm of the class ophiuroidea,
occurring on the sea bottom and having five long slender arms radiating from a
small central disc. 

Do you know that when scientist examined the skeletal plates
of the brittle star, they saw ˝an unusual pattern of density packed,
crystal-clear bump, each thinner than a human hair,˝ says the magazine  Natural History ? These crystalline bumps,
made a calcium carbonate (calcite), which proved to be high – quality
microlenses that focus light onto what seems to be photosensitive nerves just
below the plates. These lenses have the exact shape needed to produce the
desired image.
In relation to brittle star`s, Joana Aizenberg said “the brittle
star`s dual-purpose shell demonstrates an important principle: in biology,
materials are often optimized for multiple functions”.
In view of the amazing nature of the brittle star, researchers
have devised a simple, low – cost method of producing arrays of microlenses
made of calcium carbonate. The many application of  these arrays include the area of
telecommunications, where they are used to conduct light signals through
optical fibers.
What an amazing creature God has designed, isn`t it ?

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