Stingrays crack a tough food problem


HOW can stingrays crush mussel and snail shells in their jaws, when their own skeleton is made of floppy cartilage? The answer lies in mineralised struts that act as reinforcements, says Adam Summers of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In this week’s Nature (vol 395 p 450) Summers says he has found hollow columns of mineralised cartilage running through the jaws of the cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus), supporting its tooth plates. The ray’s jaws are also stiffened by a coating of calcified cartilage, he says,
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