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Curious: Why The Bite Of The Tiny Ant Hurts So Big

Maybe you're one of those people who gets excited about the tools at the hardware store, like the saw blades with diamond tips.

Hold that thought, because we're going to take it in a completely different direction... and talk about ant bites.

How DOES a creature so small cause such pain with those little tiny pinchers? Physicist Robert Schofield at the University of Oregon has an answer: metal.

Schofield and his team used instruments to check the molecular composition of biting and cutting parts on small insects, and found enough metal to keep the parts sharp and hard, requiring less muscle power from the animals, similar to the diamond-tipped saw blades.

We get the details in this week's segment of Curious: Research Meets Radio, our partnership with UO.

And we just had to share this picture, showing the parts AND the mineral concentrations:


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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.