Home » Evolution, News » Convergent evolution: Tooth enamel of vertebrates and crayfish

Convergent evolution: Tooth enamel of vertebrates and crayfish

calcium phosphate crystals in crayfish jaw/Shmuel Bentov, Ben-Gurion University

From “A Crowning Success for Crayfish” (ScienceDaily, May 18, 2012), we learn,

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Ben-Gurion University at Beer-Sheva in Israel has now found that the teeth of the Australian freshwater crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus are covered with an enamel amazingly similar to that of vertebrates. Both materials consist of calcium phosphate and are also very alike in terms of their microstructure. This extremely hard substance has apparently developed in freshwater crayfish independently from vertebrates, as it makes the teeth particularly strong.

Note this also:

In human teeth, both the hard enamel on the crown and the underlying softer dentin are composed of calcium phosphate crystals. “Freshwater crayfish, on the other hand, are very economical with calcium phosphate, the production of which is for them metabolically much more costly than the construction of the rest of the cuticle,” says Barbara Aichmayer. Freshwater crayfish renew their cuticle again and again as they grow. They dissolve the amorphous calcium carbonate out of the chitin tissue and partially store it in order to reuse it in the new shell. This is not possible with the crystalline calcium phosphate on their mandibles. They shed their costly enamel with the rest of the cuticle and build it completely anew. So in one respect, freshwater crayfish are way ahead of us. They renew their teeth at a low metabolic cost again and again, whereas our enamel, despite its hardness, gradually wears out and cannot be replaced.

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2 Responses to Convergent evolution: Tooth enamel of vertebrates and crayfish

  1. 1

    Another good thread/news about the subject creationism should bang a gong about.
    Like biological results in unrelated biology is unlikely in a glorious randomess of mutations needed along such long and winding roads to come to the same results.
    Really remarkable that invoking convergence evolution is even a option in all this.
    A single creator with a single idea for biological happenings would easily explain like results for like needs in unlike creatures.

    By the way that a Israeli university is involved in this is also not convergence.
    Rather its from a single creator of the wealth Americans, with like results in unrelated tax paper peoples.
    I like these studies but three billion dollars a year to Israel would do better research on bioloy in America i say.

  2. Hey, I never knew my vertebrae had tooth enamel… :)

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