Sea otters, which often dine on clams, crabs, and other shelled creatures, have unusually chip-resistant teeth, a new study suggests. Lab tests show that the enamel coating the teeth of sea otters (Enhydra lutris, shown) is up to two-and-a-half times tougher than human tooth enamel, thanks largely to the enamel’s microstructure. In all mammal enamel, the tiny crystals of calcium phosphate that give the tooth’s surface its hardness are separated by thin layers of protein-rich gel that help prevent cracks from propagating. In human enamel, there are about 14 of these crack-arresting layers per millimeter of tissue, but sea otter enamel has about 19 such layers per millimeter—an increase that substantially boosts the surface toughness of the teeth. Interestingly, the researchers report online today in Biology Letters, previous studies have found that the early hominin, or member of the human family, Paranthropus boisei—which lived in Africa between 1.2 million and 2.3 million years ago and has been nicknamed “Nutcracker Man” due to its large, thick-enameled molars—also had about 19 of these crack-arresting layers of protein gel per millimeter of enamel. That spacing suggests that P. boisei’s teeth may have been more chip-resistant than scientists have previously recognized, which may in turn revamp notions about the diet of these early humans.
One of the biggest tests for investors — and, for savvy investors, one of the biggest opportunities — is how they behave when the market gets rocky. There are essentially two things every investor can do when the market suffers a… Full Story,There are a number of reasons why it might be tempting to cash out your hard-earned 401k savings before retirement. From hefty car or home repairs to emergency medical expenses, sometimes unexpected circumstances cause us to seek out extra cash…. Full Story,2018 was a roller coaster for the stock market. If you’re an investor, you were probably impacted more than once – for better or worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 each hit new all-time… Full Story,You’re bound to make a few rookie errors when trying out anything for the first time, whether it’s making homemade greek yogurt, growing heirloom tomatoes, or learning to drive. After all, learning is a process, and trial and error is… Full Story,It’s easy to think of investments as existing in a vacuum. You contribute money, wait a certain amount of time and watch your portfolio grow. Where that money goes – and how it grows – are questions most people would… Full Story,Out of the main pillars of financial wellness—earn, save, spend, invest, and protect—investing can oftentimes feel like the scary, unknown thing lurking in the closet. Being frugal, creating a spending plan, and buying insurance seem to operate within the warm,… Full Story,Getting ahead financially is a game of inches. It’s about finding every trick, tip, and loophole you can find to maximize the growth potential of your money. There’s no topic where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” is more relevant…. Full Story,When you make a mistake in daily life, you usually have the opportunity to immediately make things right. If you spill soda on the floor, you can mop it up. If you burn the chicken you’re roasting for dinner, you… Full Story,One of the precious, oh-so-sweet things you give up when you go freelance is an employer-sponsored 401(k)—along with any matching contributions. But on the flipside, freelancers have quite a few options when it comes to saving for a retirement nest… Full Story,As the VP of Investments at a fintech company, it’s my job to pay close attention to the ever-changing trends and progress within the world of money. Working at Fundrise also means I’m directly involved with the development of the… Full Story