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Contact: Bobbie Mixon
bmixon@nsf.gov
703-292-8485
National Science Foundation

Biomineral Crystals Found in a Sea Urchin Tooth

Caption: Geologic or synthetic mineral crystals usually have flat faces and sharp edges, whereas biomineral crystals can have strikingly uncommon forms that have evolved to enhance function. The image here was captured using environmental scanning electron microscopy and false-colored. Each color highlights a continuous single-crystal of calcite (CaCO3) made by the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata, at the forming end of one of its teeth.

Credit: Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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