Meet the Deep-Sea Dragonfish. Its Transparent Teeth Are Stronger Than a Piranha’s.

Researchers say the tiny crystalline structures in the predator’s fangs could inspire strong, see-through materials.

Comments: 11

  1. Fascinating! And with it, a fond if remote hope that publicly funded research would bring such discoveries to bear on products to help the public. Still, I have a feeling private companies might already be putting the bite on this for patents and profit. Transparency will be nowhere in the transaction.

  2. At least there was a link to an article not behind a paywall, as the Times article was a bit confusing; hardness vs. strength being one of the least understood distinctions to most of the public. The main issue, transparency, is related to the (normal chemical composition) of the teeth being distributed in rather small bits, trendily called nanocrystals, thus reducing light scattering. Of course, this is a legitimate subject for material science since we continue to learn from the long term experimentation and proof provided by evolution. To obtain a continuum of grants, most researchers have to make some sort of case that the research will lead to new applications that have traction in the human sphere; long ago, the tagline for almost anything was ‘curing cancer’. So we should not discount good work on the basis of some remote claim to relevancy - unless, of course, it’s just too ridiculous. To this physics guy, the science was quite solid, the only downer was that these nasty critters are very small. I can imagine a screenplay involving a really big stealth fish, and of course, LA.

  3. Sounds like "transparent aluminum" from "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home".

  4. Trying to remember the last time I read an article like this in the NYT where the fundamental discovery wasn't immediately followed by speculating about commercial applications. No pure science anymore? We're destroying the planet turning everything into commercial applications. I'm imagining a Twilight Zone episode where space aliens are doing the same to us, like the one where an astronaut becomes a zoo exhibit, although the aliens look rather similar to us. Only they'll find we don't do anything exceptionally well, except using our larger baboon brains to kill other creatures and deplete our planet of its natural resources while despoiling everything.

  5. Nature is always the teacher, always the inspirer. Yet we are watching its splendor and wonder be truncated and obliterated.

  6. What a shame that for some people the only value an animal has is its utility to the human race.

  7. @Alan C. The consequence of the age of greed ushered in by Reagan. Trump is the culmination of this. Monetize everything, turn everything for a profit. If there are any losers in the transaction, too bad for them. Only profiteering matters.

  8. Must we really turn everything on this earth into a commodity? Let them alone.

  9. I have nothing science-y to contribute as a comment, I just love the fearsome looks of these deep sea predators (my favourite is the angler fish) - especially so considering that most of them are less than 10 cm (4 inches) long.

  10. Great! Now that these dragon fish can be monetized, we can hunt them to extinction!

  11. After reading others’ comments, I’m ashamed to say that I had already thought of a use for something strong and clear - a cane. Not wanting the usual cane for us arthritic old folk, I thought a clear cane would blend into surroundings. Sorry.