Researchers at Monash University have figured out how animals grow their pointed body parts, such as teeth, horns, claws, beaks, and shells.
Animals and plants often grow in patterns like logarithmic spirals. In this case, one side of the structure grows faster than the other at a constant ratio. The result is a spiral.
In a new study, the authors write about an open rule called the “power cascade”: the formula is based on the fact that the shape gradually becomes thinner according to a certain power law. There is a direct relationship between the logarithm of the tooth width and length.
This model is applicable to many animals, such as the teeth of giant sharks, tyrannosaurs, mammoths, and even humans.
Notably, this power law also works for claws, hooves, horns, spider fangs, snail shells, beaks of mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. Apart from the animals, the team also spotted him in the thorns of the rosebush and lemon tree.
We were shocked to find confirmation of our formula almost everywhere: in extinct and living animals, as well as in plants.
Alistair Evans, Monash University School of Biological Sciences