The Mantis Shrimp Inspires a New Material—Made by Bacteria

By 3D-printing scaffolds and dipping them in microbe juice, scientists make robust structures that could one day lead to self-growing roads. 

To humans, the mantis shrimp is known as the “thumb splitter,” due to its propensity to punch the digits of unfortunate fishers. To its prey on the seafloor, the mantis shrimp is known as “death incarnate”—the crustacean cocks back its two hammer-like appendages under its face, releasing them with such force that they obliterate clam shells, one of the toughest materials in nature. The mantis shrimp has even more fun with crabs, strategically blowing off their claws first so the prey can’t defend itself.

All that

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