A Piranha bite-proof fish called the Arapaima may hold the secret to more flexible, tougher body armor because of its unique scales. The 300-pound Amazonian fish shares the same watery environment as the notorious Piranha, and when river levels dip in the dry season, they must share quite shallow stretches of the world's largest river. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego are working on a way to translate the strong, flexible scale technology into better human body armor.
The materials that nature has at its disposal are not very strong, but nature combines them in a very ingenious way to produce strong components and strong designs, lead researcher Marc Meyers said in a statement.
Meyers found out about the Arapaima and began testing the scales where he found their unique structure was the key to avoiding the Piranha's deadly bite. The innermost part of the scale has fibers in it that are stacked in alternating layers that spread out the force of the bite, rendering it harmless. Meyers wants to translate this idea to ceramics that could be used in body armor, insulation or even fuel cells. Start the slideshow to see the scales up close. Tell us in the comments what other animals we should try to emulate with modern technology.