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Scaly-Foot Snail Works With Iron
Chrysomallon squamiferum, commonly known as the scaly-foot snail. This species is considered to be one of the most peculiar deep-sea hydrothermal-vent gastropods, and it is the only known extant animal that incorporates iron sulfide into its skeleton (into both its sclerites and into its shell as an exoskeleton). The sides of the snail's foot are extremely unusual, in that they are armoured with hundreds of iron-mineralised sclerites; these are composed of iron sulfides greigite and pyrite.
Fans of the Iron Man comic may recall that the suit-tiles were created by a process of biological circuit fabrication:
Micro-Scale suit tiles fabricated by genetically engineered metal affinity bacteria which assemble themselves in specific orderly arrays, then expire, leaving behind various metallic deposits which form all the metal shapes and microscopic circuits.
Just imagine, animals that work with metals, making useful things for themselves. Maybe some day, for us?
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