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Monday, January 14, 2013

Porcupine's prickly defence mystery solved


10 December 2012 

Porcupine's prickly defence mystery solved

By Ella Davies Reporter, BBC Nature



The North American porcupine is also known as a 'quill pig' 


Porcupine quills easily penetrate flesh but prove hard to remove due to microscopic barbs, say scientists.

North American porcupines are famed for their unique defence as they carry 30,000 quills on their backs.

Researchers studied the structures to understand how they effortlessly enter flesh but do not leave as smoothly.

Tiny backward-facing barbs studding the tip of each quill were found to reduce penetration force and maximise staying power. (...)

Full article:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20628302

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