Keratin

From Fetus to Fossil: A Microscopic Analysis of the Chemistry of the Hoof Throughout the Stages of Life

Abstract Hooves are morphologically complex structures among ungulates that support body weight and provide traction to assist their adaptation to various external environments. This article aims to investigate the differences in hooves throughout the stages of life. The perspective narrows from the general topic of hooves down to the fascinating…

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Mechanical Analysis of Animal Horns

This essay dives into animal horns and the physical composition, mechanical properties, and ingenious designs that make them incredibly effective at everything they do. It features a selection of horn structures from different organisms in the animal kingdom, which demonstrates the diversity of horn structures while also showing the uniform…

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Biomolecular Applications of Animal Horns

Ovis canadensis (“Bighorn Sheep,” 2022) Chemistry is the basis of life. Behind every thought, feeling, movement, or biological function, there are a series of chemical reactions occurring. With this said, it comes as no surprise that the chemical composition of animal horns plays a vital role in the mechanical properties,…

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Spiky Surprises: The Chemistry of Spines and Quills

Many organisms possess an internal defense mechanism, intrinsic properties, and behaviors adapted for their survival. Spines and quills differ immensely across families, and this disparity is exacerbated further amongst taxa. Environmental pressures such as resource availability can result in various chemical and structural design mechanisms for spines and quills. However,…

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A Comparison of Keratin Use in Pangolin, Reptile, and Bird Scales

Abstract Skin, a keratin-based tissue, is the largest organ in humans. This essay examines the molecular structural function of keratins, their evolutionary origins, and functions in scales and scale-derived structures.  The organisms examined are pangolins, reptiles, and birds. The hierarchical structure of keratin proteins is described for alpha and beta…

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