Bone Has Built-In Shock Absorbers with Molecular Springs
Your bones have little molecular springs in them that unwind and keep the collagen fibrils “glued” together when stress threatens a fracture. See the description, with electron micrographs and diagrams, in a press release from UC Santa Barbara.
Said co-author Daniel Morse, director of UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies: “It’s especially exciting for us to find the profound medical significance of our discoveries for human bone.” He described the discovery of “molecular shock absorbers” providing a kind of self-healing glue holding biological mineralized structures together when studying the abalone shell six years ago. “It’s truly remarkable to find the same fundamental mechanisms operating in bone,” said Morse.
He noted that these mechanisms give young healthy bone its tremendous resiliency and resistance to fracture, and actually help heal small microcracks soon after they’re formed. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)
(For a related story on marine shells, see 07/26/2004 entry.) Paul Hansma, physicist at UCSB, noted that while a paper on bone is published every six minutes, little is known about how it works at the molecular level. New techniques like atomic force microscopy are allowing scientists to see these tiny molecular structures for the first time. The UCSB paper has achieved the highest resolution images of bone ever published. Since these safety mechanisms work well in young healthy bone, the new findings may help medical researchers find ways to overcome skeletal problems that often come with aging, including bone brittleness and osteoarthritis.
Since no evolutionists believe people evolved from abalones, their only recourse is to wave the magic wand of convergent evolution to explain built-in molecular shock absorbers. Remember that improbabilities are multiplicative, not additive – and so are credulities.
This story illustrates a difference between living and non-living objects. In general, the closer you look at an inanimate object, like a rock, the simpler it appears. For living structures, the complexity keeps apace with the magnification. Some of the most amazing aspects have been invisible to human perception till recently. If macroscopic things like an eye gave Darwin cold shudders, he could never have been prepared for the view under the atomic force microscope. Let’s hope his shock absorbers are in good working order as we envision him collapsing in a dead faint.