Ants are privileged creatures for several reasons. Nature has given them incredible gifts, and one of them is their super-strong teeth. Ants are able to easily pierce through hefty leaves, which is amazing for insects of their size. In relation to its size, the ant is one of the strongest creatures living on Earth.
According to CNET, scientists now know what makes the teeth of ants so strong. The researchers are even optimistic that the insects’ teeth can grant some inspiration for those developing consumer electronics.
A uniform distribution of zinc atoms is the key
Scientists discovered that the secret behind the ants’ strong teeth is represented by a uniform distribution of zinc atoms. The arrangement allows the force to be equally distributed each time the ants chew on something.
Arun Devaraj, who is the author of the new study and a senior research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy, declared as quoted by CNET.com:
Having the uniform distribution, essentially, is the secret.
Devaraj also adds about the ants’ teeth, as cited by the same publication, that they “can even cut human skin without breaking — it’s hard to even do that with our own teeth.”
The researchers behind the new study isolated a little piece of a single tooth belonging to an ant. The next step was to use the atom probe tomography technique to see exactly how the zinc is distributed inside the ant teeth and how that leads to the incredible strength of the insects.
We must all remember about ants that they’re the longest living insects in the world. The queen ant of the Pogonomyrmex Owyheei species can live for a maximum of 30 years.
The new study regarding ants’ teeth was published in the Scientific Reports journal.