Heart of Glass: The Art of Medical Models
Gary Farlow can make art out of arteries. He and his team of 10 at Farlow’s Scientific Glassblowing are able to transform the body’s vasculature—and nearly all of its other parts—into an ornate borosilicate glass sculpture, from the heart’s ventricles to the brain’s circle of Willis. “We do almost every part of the body,” Farlow says. “It can take a pretty artistic mind to make some of these things.” With the help of cardiologists, the team creates custom see-through systems for science and medical training. Their anatomically correct models can be designed to simulate blood flow, teach placement of catheters and angioplasty devices, or simply test or demo new surgical gizmos. Individual arteries, veins, and capillaries are shaped and fused together, one at a time. Ground-glass joints are added at the exposed ends so a head, say, can be connected to the carotid arteries should customers want to expand their model. A full-body setup could cost $25,000, so don’t get any bright ideas about using one as a brandy decanter.
these would look absolutely stunning in my foyer*
*author’s note: i do not have a foyer.
i was wondering the other day if this was a thing people could do. apparently it is and damn if it isn’t one of the coolest things.
Sarcastic Fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi)
When two fringeheads have a territorial battle, they wrestle by pressing their distended mouths against each other, as if they were kissing. This allows them to determine which is the larger fish, which establishes dominance
U.S. firm The Amazing Jellyfish (theamazingjellyfish.com) takes the bioluminescent bodies of creatures that have died of natural causes and encase them in resin, thus preserving not just their bodies, but also their incredible glow-in-the-dark properties.
i… really want one of these…
How is it that Trolls have so many mammal characteristics yet they have butterfly wings and are born from eggs?? Did you come up with a personal solution?
Because they… are not mammals! They’re more like parasitic amphibians than anything else, really, but there’s not really much to explain about it because it’s simple convergent evolution. A thing that fills the same role as humans do—large, social, terrestrial architects—could conceivably have a body plan very similar to humans even though their lineage does not resemble ours.
I don’t really see why a human-shaped thing couldn’t lay an egg. I mean, we don’t, but I think that’s less because egg-laying would make it impossible for us to function as we do, and more luck of the draw, because we’re directly derived from animals that don’t lay eggs either. Though I don’t actually recall hearing trolls lay eggs?
I guess it is complicated but if you want to know how I think they reproduce (u dont) I wrote something about it anyway that I considered deleting when I realised I was on a tangent, but didn’t. They might look sexually dimorphic but they are all actually the same sex and reproduce by parthenogenesis. Not hermaphroditic, hermaphroditism implies both a male and female reproductive tract with different types of gametes, where in this case there is only one type. The “genetic material” spoken of is a capsule that contains hundred or thousands of small egg cells, most which will never actually develop because they will be devoured by other eggs. Genetic recombination can happen when one egg eats another and incorporates the prey into its own genome, but it’s not really true sex. Capsules successfully explain how you can get it into the mother grub without having any special tools to inject it, and how their distant ancestors may have reproduced without a host. They are now obligate parasites of the mother grub but likely began as faculative parasites instead, who could incubate their own young but something happened to that ability/they just grew out of it because shoving oophores into a massive fetus-looking insect monster yielded far better results than shoving oophores into each other. I would draw them with nipples if I ever were to draw a naked troll and I could blame it on “they used to raise young themselves, perhaps in a marsupial-like fashion” but actually it is just because people look really weird without nipples. Anime chests are just like, wrong. shit im talking about troll sex
As for butterfly wings there is no one in the world who can explain them away, it would be impossible to fly with them or even really move them around and in real life they would just be a big pain in the ass. But they were drawn in because they look cool and I’m okay with that. Plus it seems to be a Skaia thing anyway? Like only the people who played the game could get them, if they became gods, it’s not something that is an actual species trait.
The mother grub has wings like that, so maybe it is symbolic to them, and that’s why it is given to them if they ascend? And if the wing was an ancestral trait they might still have like… the genetic potential to grow them, I guess? So it’s why they have them, but humans don’t have feathered wings even though angel wings are symbolic of ascension/godhood/whatever to us—nothing in our line ever had feathers so we can’t have feathers.
If I ever write anything about god tier wings though I am just going to say they are kind of projections? Like they aren’t physical appendages and you can turn them off, because apparently Vriska turned them off for the first half of act 5.2, and it just makes things way easier.
corvidcipher asked you: I assume Troll Biology: The Complete Experience won’t include Carapace Biology: The Complete Sideshow Experience, but do you have any thoughts on our chitinous friends? Particularly, I’m curious about support and musculature—true exoskeleton, or exoskeleton with spider-like secondary endoskeleton, or endoskeleton with armor plates? Extensor muscles, or a hydraulic system? Anything else you want to talk about would be super neat too. :V
I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that there’s more of a focus on science in troll bio conversations but carapaces are all about cool designs instead of inner workings. With carapaces you can’t talk about ancestral forms and selection pressures and environmental interactions because their present forms are just… how they are, how they always have been. Since they are essentially black and white stick figures everyone is free to go to town on what they would look like realistically and they don’t need to pay any mind to WHY they look that way because there is no answer. Which is totally cool!! This freedom’s produced a lot of neat as fuck designs.
There’s an element of anthropocentrism in Homestuck that I think is actually kind of neat instead of horrid like most things that include anthropocentrism. Both the carapaces and the players always seem to have a humanoid body plan with the same kind of abilities, which means even though the carapace bodies don’t change from session to session and the players do, they are always person-looking enough that the players can interact with them no problem. Evolution is true for life on the planets sessions spring from, which is why the players look different every time, but there is a sort of “goal” to develop a type of human-like organism that can play the game effectively and allow the universe to reproduce. The presence of a humanoid species with advanced technology is a sign of the end times, in other words. I like it because it doesn’t really put them on a pedestal—they’re chosen not because of inherent betterness, but because they jive the best with the carapaces.
There is a bit of a chicken-or-egg problem—do the carapaces look that way because of the players or do the players look that way because of the carapaces—but logically I think it’s the latter! Because carapaces are central to the game and they are static. I think it’s possible daughter universes have humanoid players in part because their predecessors are kind of naturally biased towards making an idealised world similar to their own, but if that was all that mattered there would probably end up being a gradual shift in body form over generations of universes to a point where the carapaces would not resemble the players at all. Which would break a lot of mechanics! So the carapace is kind of like a walking blueprint for all player species across all sessions—instead of them being patterned off of and catering to us, we are built in THEIR image.
Maybe the original universe that spawned all the others had a player race that looked exactly like them, and that’s why they are the template instead of something with like six legs and eyestalks all along its back.
To answer the actual question—a carapace is just the top part of a shell. People are most familiar with the term when it’s referring to insect carapaces so that’s probably why virtually all carapace people are drawn as insectoid with epidermal chitin plates everywhere on their bodies, but there’s no reason why they couldn’t have, say, a bony shell on their back with osteoderm scales, more reptile than insect.
Whatever the carapace is made out of though, or where the plates are, carapacians are too big to not have an internal skeleton. There is a very restrictive size limit on animals with exoskeletons, and the only reason why arthropods can get away with not having an internal support structure is because they are so small. Marine arthropods can buck it because water itself acts as a support system, and they would not be crushed under their own weight when they molted, but even then the largest marine arthropod ever recorded (giant sea scorpion) only grew to about 8-9 feet if I’m not mistaken, while the largest terrestrial is the coconut crab, which is about the size of a big house cat. Bipedalism would also put too much pressure on their legs—large terrestrial athropods are all very squat in order to spread their weight out, and the only thing that would remedy this is to have very thick plates on the legs which would impede movement and make them even heavier.
So the best fit answer is endoskeleton with armor plates of some sort. The carapace, whatever it is made out of, would probably restrict movement of the chest even if it is not completely fused to the vertebrae like a turtle’s is, so overall their back is less flexible than ours. The plates don’t necessarily cover their entire body either. Their faces might be smooth skin, for instance.
All that being said, my favourite interpretations of carapace people are when they have joints like ball jointed dolls or limbs resembling chess pieces. A lot of the realistic looking faces people try out don’t work for me and I have yet to find one I would accept as my own headcanon, but there are cool ones. The only thing I hate seeing is noses, really, carapaces are not meant for protruding noses.
look at me mom no readmores
A cat that has been genetically modified glows green This cats marks an advance in AIDS research, as its cells are able to resist the FIV virus that causes AIDS in cats (Read more)
If you’ve ever wondered WHY DO THEY DO THIS, it’s because the gene that links to the jellyfish gene that enables the glow is also ‘linked’ to the gene they’re trying to get to express fully in the organism. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to achieve this without additional (and potentially harmful to the experiment itself) testing.
Aww, what a cute snake. I wonder what the rest of it looks like—
OH. OH. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL REPTILE.
I love everything involving you and biology so much please down me in a flood of knowledge and theory. also, what is the name of the frog?
Samkos bush frog (Chiromantis samkosensis)
not only does it have cool blood, it’s also really cute
Maybe I will in the future. I’m really glad people like reading this sort of thing—glad isn’t a good word, it’s something between relieved and elated and overjoyed and a lot of adjectives thereof—because I like writing it, and the concepts behind it are concepts I am really passionate about, and I thought some people might hate me if I posted stuff like that out in the open with my name attached. I have a lot of material I can cover because I’ve thought about the biology behind a silly fictional alien species a lot, not just because I like the challenge or I have a lot of extra time on my hands, but because I’m a bio student and I’ve been using it as a sort of study aid. I’m a bad student in that I slack off on doing work a ton and I don’t actually sit down to study, but I’ve found that having a framework to apply all the things I am learning to is better than just reviewing material. I can pretty much blame this and other original projects on my marks not being abysmal.
I kinda latched onto it once the hemospectrum was introduced because people said that it was impossible and I was like well fuck that I bet I can crack it if I wanted to. I bet I could come up with a real elegant and plausible explanation for that diversity, and I could write it all up in a word document and make subtitles that are different colours, and then sit back and feel good about myself having proved some random guy on 4chan totally wrong. And you guys, you guys, I totally did it. I did it like a year ago, but it kind of snowballed into all sorts of other things like evolutionary history and symbiosis and cultural implications so I kept it to myself. And then THIS YEAR. IN SEPTEMBER. I’d let that stuff collect dust on my harddrive for a while, and I’d started thinking that it was probably bullshit that couldn’t really exist, and then, you guys, I found this frog, I found this frog who had turquoise blood for the reasons I’d mapped out a year ago and I fucking cried because holy shit holy shit I thought I pulled some stuff out of my ass but ACTUALLY IT WAS REAL AND THERE ARE REAL SPECIMENS OUT THERE THAT I WAS DESCRIBING AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT. It was the greatest thing, like, I have never tasted victory quite like this. AND I’M STILL… REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THAT. The word doc is still incomplete—probably because I’ve been squashing every idea I’ve had into its outline and now its vastness has become intimidating to me—but, well, it exists, and I could tell you about it, and maybe I will now that I know some people are receptive.
There are just kinda some FEELINGS and EMOTIONS in the way and stuff I’ve dealt with in my usual manner of dealing with things, which is that I don’t actually deal with them and allow them to poke me in the face while I tell everyone else that they are a) not actually there or b) shut up. Gonna try a different method this time. And wow this got a little too long and a little too close for comfort so I am gonna cover it up with a readmore. Readmores are really nice, and I’m glad they work for me even though they don’t work for anyone else.
I TYPED A RESPONSE. IT IS LITERALLY A SHORT, RAMBLING, DISORGANIZED ESSAY OF 1300 WORDS ABOUT TROLL BIOLOGY, AND IN THIS ESSAY, YOU WILL SEE MY TRUE FACE. I HOPE TO GOD THE READMORE WORKS. If this interests you but you can’t figure out what the fuck this is, it starts here, which is followed up in a slightly irritated tone here. THEN it’s siadea’s post which ought to be read too, don’t skip over it. I think all of this is extremely cool, and I hope it’s not too dry or hard to understand for people who are not the most biologically inclined, because IT’S REALLY COOL YOU GUYS, evolution and adaption and shit is just so cool and I love it so much. Like goddamn there is nothing in this world I adore more than this and I finally have an excuse to vomit it all over tumblr and wow this is just a tiny piece I could go on forever please just read this.