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Monday, 4 May 2020

Spot the Frippet: exoskeleton.

Do you keep your skeleton hidden away inside your skin?

Most of us do, but there are those who flaunt theirs:

File:Land crab 3.jpg
photo by Alex Barabas

There are good things about having an outside skeleton - an exoskeleton. If you decide you want to change shape, for instance, you can take if off like an old jacket and walk away a new creature:

File:Exoskeleton.jpg
discarded exoskeleton of some huge insect. Brrr! Photo by Ghazi

An exoskeleton also makes a good protection from the weather and predators. And they sometimes shines beautifully:

File:Shiny beetle 2.jpg
Slovenian beetle. Photo by Tiia Monto

But there are disadvantages to having an exoskeleton, too: skeletons are heavy, and there's a limit to how much muscle you can get inside one that's hollow. This means there are no three metre grasshoppers out there. 

But even so, an exoskeleton does very well for a host of cockroaches, crabs, snails, mussels, and many other creatures.

But the cleverest arrangement?

Well, how about a tortoise, which has both an inside (endo-) and an exoskeleton?

File:Indian star tortoise by N. A. Naseer.jpg
photo by N A Naseer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._A._Naseer

Clever animals, tortoises. I mean, I've never heard of anyone eating a tortoise. 

And that's even though they come with their own pie dish.

Spot the Frippet: an exoskeleton. Exō is the Greek for outside. Skeleton in Greek means something dried out, from skellein, to dry up.




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