Understanding the Evolution of Sharpness through Viper Fangs

Philip Anderson, Ph.D. and Stephanie Crofts, Ph.D authored a paper dedicated to the study of nature’s vast range of sharp objects as they hope to understand why every major group of organisms has developed the ability to puncture flesh.

Viper fangs were the perfect place to start, says first author and lab leader Philip Anderson, Ph.D., because the “charismatic” animals are already so well studied. By understanding how evolution shaped sharpness we can make human tools better — and perhaps create materials that are puncture-proof, he explains to Inverse.
A viper fang, he says, “has one job to do, which is to puncture and inject venom.” Co-author and postdoctoral researcher Stephanie Crofts, Ph.D. puts it this way: “That’s more or less what evolution has shaped them to do.”

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(Image Credit: Rushen! / Flickr)

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