Fish scales may inspire body armor
Despite the piranha's sharp teeth, it can't break through the scales of the arapaima.
February 13th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Fish scales may inspire body armor

A huge fish that is impervious to piranha attacks could become the inspiration for a new class of ultratough composite materials.

Its scales are so tough that piranha teeth crack when they chomp down onto them. Each scale is coated with a rock-hard mineral material, but they have soft cores made from strings of stretchy protein. The fish is called the arapaima, and it's native to Brazil.

“You often find this in nature, where you have something hard on the outside, but it rides on something softer that gives it toughness,”  Marc Meyers, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement.

Meyers and his colleagues hope that other researchers will be inspired to make materials that mimic the design of the arapaima's scales. Such materials could be used to make better body armor for soldiers or sturdier prostheses.

Using electron microscopes, X-rays and infrared scanners, the team of engineers learned everything that they could about the super-sturdy scales. They found that the stiff outer layer has tiny corrugations and it most likely belongs to a bone-like class of minerals called hydroxyapatite. They also observed that the squishy core of each scale is made from threads of a protein called collagen, and those threads are stacked on top of each other in a crisscross pattern.

In addition to their battery of chemical tests, Meyers and his team clamped piranha teeth and fish scales into a machine that tests the sturdiness of materials. The machine slowly but firmly pressed the tooth against the scale. Although the tip of the tooth did some damage to the scale, the tooth eventually snapped and the scale remained mostly intact.

Meyers was inspired to study the exotic fish while taking a trek through the Amazon Basin.

The engineers published a report about the fish scales in the journal Advanced Biomaterials.

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Filed under: On Earth
soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    I reccommend picking up the book, "Darwin's Black Box." It is written by a scientist, who makes no claim of believing in God or not, but says that Darwin did not have the modern equipment scientists have today and enable them to see the tiniest life forms on the planet. It is a remarkable book that does not shy away from or gloss over the missing link that some scientists cannot or choose not to deal with or attempt to explain.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • nepawoods

      The book pushes the so-called theory of intelligent design. The intelligent designer is clearly God by another name. The whole "irreducible complexity" argument is an argument from ignorance: I can't see how this could have evolved, therefore it couldn't have.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:47 am |
      • sumday

        You reject the idea of G-d or an intelligent designer, so I pose to you a question- do you think there is intelligent life anywhere in this universe that just might rival the intelligence of a 3.5lb brain? Simply look at every human invention and how each invention has “evolved” over time to become something more complex than the first invention. Now compare that same progression to “evolution”- it sure follows a path similar to how human inventions “evolve”. It’s not hard for you to grasp that there was thought and planning in taking the model T-5 to today’s corvette, but then you look at primitive animals turning into apes then to humans and say it just had to happen that way by random occurrences without purpose? To believe in unplanned evolution is to really state that there is no possibility of an intelligent species other than humans in this vast universe. Mathematically it is way more likely that there exist life- and most likely intelligent life- in this universe. As such it is just as likely that they had a hand in creating life here on earth. With the limited knowledge that we have right now do we not experiment with dna to create different life, or splice genes into plants? Have we not thought about terra-forming planets? Yet you assume that no other creature could possibly have done what we are doing now and what we dream of doing. Nope the complexity of life just randomly formed by itself with no thought and somehow all these animals miraculously “evolved” all these complex genes allowing them to survive with absolutely no thought to their design. It is much more likely that there is other life in this universe and as such credence to the idea of life being designed and planned is much more likely than it is to have happened by random chance.

        February 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ Sumday,
        while I don't reject the possibility of there being life outside our universe, I do reject the idea that there is a greater being controlling it all... why? because there is no credible evidence to support it. Your argument about the model T vs. the corvette is absurd because man changed the design for a specific purpose (in this case speed and power) whereas nature does not change the design for purpose, rather adapts a purpose because of the new trait. What you are claiming is that, because there can be life outside our universe, it must be more intelligent, therefore we'll call it god and worship it. No, screw that, I'm not buying it.

        March 4, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Ann

      Not to change the subject, but does anyone know where you can find these? I used to buy them at West coast gift stores. They are great fingernail files and I even used one to file the points in the distributor cap once. Can also use them as a "pumice" stone. They use to cost between .50 and .75 apiece. Havent been able to find them for several years. ... maybe because someone figured out how cool they were and took somethiing great and turned it into body armor. 🙁

      February 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  2. mmi16

    Scale armor has been used since before time was measured.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  3. mrdifficult

    The existence of half or more of these commenters conclusively proves their is no god. No all-powerful deity could screw up that badly.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  4. aj

    Ever hear of scale mail? What kind of moron wrote this article?

    February 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Stef

      I agree. Fantasy/sciencefictions writers have been "inspired" by scaled armor for fifty years!

      February 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Todd H.

      It's really funny to read comments and see how few people actually read the article, or understood it if they made an attempt. All you illiterates who keep saying stuff about scale-mail or fish-scale armor are showing how sad the state of our education systems are. Read it again, it's about the composition of each scale, not the interlocking pattern of many scales. Reading the news is depressing, but reading the comments is downright scary.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • Marcia W.

        Todd, I could not agree with you more! It is an understatement to state that the majority of the replies shows our country's ignorance. Let these type of finds lead to a greater good- maybe help with those that have unhealthy collagen and have joint issues or bone issues (such as osteogenesis imperfecta).

        February 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
      • Dragun


        February 15, 2012 at 8:35 am |
      • Kids cannot comprehend

        Kids today seem to skim the topical words and form their conclusions without any real focus central to the initial argument.

        February 15, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • nepawoods

      Read the article. They aren't talking about the arrangement of plates in a scale mail structure, but about the composition of the plates themselves, which need not be emulated in a scale-like structure to be useful.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  5. Rider I

    Your article writer is way behind on his armor research. This pattern has already been used for the armor known as dragon scale armor. It can withstand the same type of rounds as the current mass metal armors yet is way lighter.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • the1one

      Not really, while Dragon Skin armor is arranged in the same fashion as reptile or fish scales, it's still made from the same ballistically rated ceramic that other armor plates are made from.

      The article is talking about making armor from biological precursors.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • And besides ...

      "In response to claims made by several U.S. Senators, Dragon Skin and special interest groups, on Monday, May 21, 2007, the Army held a press conference where they released the results of the tests they claimed Dragon Skin failed.[21][22][23][24]

      Congress held a hearing on the matter. While calling the failure of his vest to stop a round on the second shot of the Army test a "once in a while" occurrence, the Pinnacle Armor CEO denied Army claims that a dozen more rounds penetrated his Dragon Skin vests. He argued x-ray photos of one vest the Army claims failed showed the Dragon Skin disks had stopped the round. "The bullet did not go through the armor," Neal said flatly. Army officials responded by showing lawmakers a video clip of Neal inspecting the same vest after a test shot, watching engineers dig the penetrating round out of ballistic clay backing. "Are you telling me if you were wearing this vest ... and that round hit you in the chest, would that have killed you or not?" a skeptical Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) asked Pinnacle CEO Murray Neal. "No," he replied.[25]"

      February 15, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  6. best

    GlUe this to your laughing at how ignorant and blind you are! adam & eve are a mere math problem. a math problem to prove who jesus christ is. ah so much you dont know. abba forgive them for they do not know how to read with the eyes you provided.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

      But, the true language of God would be math. Math explains everything, and knows no language boundaries.... Which is why I do not believe in God, because he would have shared this knowledge instead of just words.

      February 15, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • God is Dead

      God died when intellect was granted to humans.

      I guess all of you missed the bus.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • sumday

      It is you who needs to do some research. It has been proven all modern humans arose from 1 single mother- an Eve if you will. There is no mathatical problem here, other than you don't seem to understand math.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  7. best

    God is such perfect creators! btw to the copycat name fool & his ignorant blind buddies-if God designed creatures any more 'perfectly', then they would have no food! ever heard of the food chain?! everything was meant to die-to either feed other animals, or fertilize the ground for plants. God made perfect adaptable MORTAL beings.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • lewtwo


      February 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      It's called the Food Web now.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  8. Neil Whittaker

    Ummm....this is news why?
    Why is this news?
    Scale Armour? Anyone heard of that?
    This type of armour goes back to the Bloody Romans....
    Yesh....does CNN stands for Crummy News Network now?
    Crimminey-you could of just Googled it or used Wikipedia!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Bill

      The Romans had a scaled composite armor with a rock hard exterior and soft interior made up of threads of collagen? Wow, who knew!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  9. IceT

    To borrow from our friends on the "Belief Blog" .. keep your religion off of this site, it's a science site & not for religion.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • vonexus

      There is actually a high correlation between religion and science – if not for one, the other wouldn't exist. As Einstein quoted, "I do not study science to disapprove God, but to actually prove His existence. I just want to know how He did it."

      February 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • karlen

        Great !!!! BAM hit em

        February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • I = rubber, U = glue

        "if not for one, the other wouldn't exist"

        False, Science could easily exist without religion and i think that Religion would be much happier if science were not around. It is a shame that you have to make these things up to try and validate Religion by grouping it with Science.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • aj

        If you knew anything about science you would know that it is theoretically impossible to prove something doesn't exist, including religion.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • IceT

        vonexus .. LOL, just sharin' the love from the belief blog.

        February 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        BTW vonexus ... Einstein was an Atheist. He invoked God frequently to make points about things that had, as yet, no explanation. To Einstein, God was a useful metaphor that also appeased any critical religious zealots.

        February 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • sumday

        replying to AJ- currently scientist say that 95% of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy that can neither be seen or tested but must exist. matter and energy hmm don't humans have the same? maybe science just found G-d an invisible being with mass and energy that can't be tested but somehow must exist. On a more serious note- do you believe that there is other life in this universe? Then why is it hard for you to believe that there might be a creator G-d? If there is the possibility of a "higher" intelligence in this universe (and mathematically that is highly likely) than the existing of a "G-d" "creating the earth" (haven't humans thought and explored the idea of terra-forming planets) is entirely possible, and plausible. Simply asked if we conquer space flight wouldn't we try and do the exact same thing? Wouldn't we try experimenting with different forms of life? and what better place to conduct experiments than on a planet not your own. Funny many believe in intelligent aliens being possible yet then proclaim that there is not creator of life. I wonder if computer ever gain self awareness will they then deny humans had any thought or existence in their creation?

        February 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ sumday,

        "currently scientist say that 95% of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy that can neither be seen or tested but must exist" Yes, and no. Dark matter cannot be tested but its effect on matter CAN. "maybe science just found G-d an invisible being with mass and energy that can't be tested but somehow must exist." And then again, maybe they discovered the midi-chlorians that were discussed in The Phantom Menace, giving credibility to the Star Wars film franchise. "Then why is it hard for you to believe that there might be a creator G-d?" Simply, there is no credible support for this claim. "haven't humans thought and explored the idea of terra-forming planets" Yes many things have come from the imagination of man, some are even acted upon and made a reality... others are left as fiction, delusion and dreams. "wouldn't we try and do the exact same thing?" I would hope not. We should have enough respect for LIFE not to tamper with it and play games with something we don't yet understand. "and what better place to conduct experiments than on a planet not your own" spoken like a true spoiled brat who thinks everything belongs to him and is owed to him. "I wonder if computer ever gain self awareness will they then deny humans had any thought or existence in their creation?" Not likely, there is too much undeniable evidence, docu mentation to the contrary... since before the invention of the computer, we have been meticulous at record keeping, cataloguing and filing... unlike 2-3000 years ago.

        March 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  10. yahmez the mad

    I made my indestructible armor out of overlapping unbreakable combs. COME AT ME, BRO!

    February 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Steve

      Remember all those CD Roms that used to come in the mail from AOL? Yep, I made my armor suit out of hundreds of those saved up by me and just a few friends. Check it out! It's not only functional, but highly decorative too, plus it can temporarily blind your opponent when the sun's rays bounce off of it!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
      • scale mail

        except for the hole in the middle of each CD

        February 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  11. Carole Clarke

    The Vikings had what they called fish-scale armor, circular rings of metal, attached to a leather backing, overlapping like roof shingles. Deflected arrows and sword and axe hits but a knife could be angled in from below and penetrate. Have to be a fool or a brave man to get that close to a Viking. But perhaps some scientific evaluation can improve on Kevlar. There was a scene in the show "Numb3rs" where the lead character, wearing his FBI vest was knifed by a Serb militiaman on the run and nearly died. Modern science has got to find a fabric that would at least stop a knife, crossbow bolt or spear – primitive weapons but still deadly.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • idb

      Actually, the fish scale armour was already in use by the ancient greeks. Then, there already are stab proof vests. As for this "invention," It is basically "dragonskin" which was blackballed by the Army because they thought it was too expensive. The Army went as far as forging tests to get it off the table.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      In spite of all the claims here, no one has ever before made armour of alternating crossed threads of collagen. Thus this research on the scales of the arapaima fish. The hope is it would be equally impermeable to bullets and blades as well as lightweight.

      That's my interpretation of the text. Of course, I am a scientist.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  12. patrick150

    For all you evolution haters, why do you doubt God? If God wanted to create a cycle of life based on evolution, don't you think He is capable of it? He is all and everything evolves back to Him.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • palintwit

      And the magic man in the clouds is smiling down upon us all...

      February 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • m

      Please go back to fantasy land. This story is about science and biology not your fairytale "gawd". That creature does not exist in any form or fashion. Science and nature have proven time and time again that all species adapt to their environment. Go back to the moth studies in England during the industrial revolution if you want straight proof. Certain species of moths were naturally white for their protection. Pollution caused their skin to be filled with soot and dust from factories. This made them stand out to predators. Through evolution the moths genetically adapted and became darker to match their environment.

      Religion is what held back this planet for nearly a 1000 years. Fortunatelly today, modern science is proving religion wrong and studies like this are what shows the flaws in your belief.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • RMS

        The moths remained moths though; they did not evolve into birds, or lizards, or butterflies.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Yahwey or the highway

        @RMS – That was a few decades .. in a few hundred thousand years you won't even recognize a moth. You can't teach someone who refuses to learn.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
      • meltedWax

        You choose to NOT believe. Others of us choose TO believe. It's our choice. I don't hate you for your choice. You may hate me for mine if you that's how you want to spend your energy.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • RealityCheck

        @ m:

        You may believe God doesn't exist, but such an absolute statement about something you cannot disprove belies your bias. Modern science has in no way "disproved" religion in any form or fashion, and I would legitimately challenge you to support any of your claims to this effect. Furthermore, to suggest that this particular study either proves or disproves anything is patently ridiculous. It's a study on the composition of armored fish scales; how does this have any bearing on the existence of God?

        As for your example, there's a critical aspect of genetics that needs to be understood in this case, as in all cases of natural selecrtion. The basic genetic information required for the adaptation from light to dark moths was already present in the DNA of the moth population. Natural selection simply made it dominant. The same principle is true of the famous example of the Galapagos finches cited by Darwin. It's not "evolution" as you posit, it's simply adaptation within the scope of existing genetic information. That is how natural selection works. It doesn't disprove God; I could just as easily argue that he designed DNA to provide the ability for such adaptation.

        As for religion setting us back? First of all, what do you mean by religion? Do you really think all religions are the same in how they impact their society? In this case, I'm guessing you're targeting western Christianity primarily, so let's consider that angle. While misguided "Christian" movements have sadly supressed scientific inquiry or been involved in some tragic episodes, it's also true that there are examples of just the opposite. Despite its many flaws, the spread of Christendom in europe stabilized the region by uniting it under the authority of the Church. And during the dark ages, Christian monastaries preserved many of the ancient texts (including non-religious writings full of non-religious knowledge) that would otherwise have been lost. We would be some 500 years even further beghind without their efforts. Modern western legal codes are based on (you guessed it) a Judeo-Christian foundation. These are just a few examples for consideration.

        Recognizing that "religion" has been responsible for some very dark moments in history, it's important to acknowledge that religious practice does not always reflect the actual teachings of the faith (the Bible does not stand opposed to science, for example). Furthermore, not all "religions" are the same either in belief or practice, and their impact on the development of society is diverse. So before you make such sweeping and uncompromising claims, please consider cultivating a more informed perspective on the issues at hand. They're far too complex for such heavy-handed judgments.

        February 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ RealityCheck,

        Do you not show the same bias towards the disbelief of Vampires, Unicorns, Leprochauns, Easter Bunny, fairies, pixies, gnomes, etc.? Tell you what, you disprove the existance of ANY one of these examples, and I will disprove to you the existance of your version of God. You asked for his relavance to how the article relates to the existance of god? m: was replying to a comment that claimed God was evolution... there is your relavance.

        Now on to your "adaptation vs. evolution" argument... evolution, broadly defined is Change over time... adaptation, broadly defined is change over time... wait a minute... now we're just playing with words... you're just adding a "goddunit" for good measure, but you really don't know... you're just guessing.

        OH! and to claim that modern social criminal codes are "based on judeo-christianitian" ones! Are you serious? Tell me one criminal act where it is ilegal to THINK of commiting the crime? (Thou shalt not covet) Tell me where you find in the Tora or the Bible, or the Koran, where it is illegal to r ape a woman or child (God found it acceptable for Lot to offer his daughters to a mob to be r aped and rewarded him) Show me where in modern society it is acceptable to commit genocide, infanticide, and other attrocities. Stick your judeo-christian morality up your a$$. FYI, murder, theft and "bearing false witness" were considered wrong in ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt long before Abraham was ever said to walk this earth. And those are the ONLY three of the big 10 commandments that are truely relevant to today's society.

        Now on to making heavy handed sweeping statements... read Christopher Hitchen God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and you'll have many arguments as to how ALL religions corrupt and are inherently corrupt. Let yourself be Hitch-slapped from beyond the grave.

        March 4, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • timmy

      well, first, you would need to prove that your god exists. Sure, there COULD be one god, or many gods, or no god. However, making such outlandish claims of an extraordinary being must be accompanied by extraordinary proof. If you can talk in such absolutes, certainly you can provide actual proof your god exists.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • meltedWax

        Nobody needs to prove or disprove anything. One's faith in God is their choice. Your refusal to believe is also your choice. Is this a great country or what?!

        February 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Adam

      Is he involved in the creation of fish scale body armor?? Because if he's not, then what the hell are you posting this non-relevant garbage on this thread for?

      February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Yahwey or the highway

      If we could just rid ourselves of religion we wouldn't need armor.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
      • meltedWax

        Why, you CAN rid yourself of religion. But ridding everybody else of religion will probably wear you out prematurely.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Amen brother! Scientists discover one small piece of God's creation and then some folks take that to mean that it disproves the existence of God. Someday the veil will be lifted and the whole picture will be clear for those alive to see it. As Jesus said, "blessed is he that believes without seeing".

      February 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        And Yoda said: Do or Do not, there is no try...

        Quoting from fiction is fun.

        March 4, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  13. GoatHearer

    I wear a suit made of whole arapaima when I'm nervous. Cats love me.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  14. DC Clark

    Why dont they just ask the fish where they bought the armor

    February 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  15. RJ

    Sure the fish can stand up to pirhana teeth. But what about a slug from a 9mm?

    February 14, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • TomGI

      Piranha don't have hands to shoot guns dummy.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • JTC

      Actually, most body armor won't stop a 9mm round either, at least not as well as one would hope (with ballistic plates, sure, but without, most armor is meant to stop shrapnel and less massive rounds). Knives tend to cut into it pretty easily too.... this might be a step into defending against that.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • TheHyena

        Actually, 9mm rounds are quite small and easily stopped by vests, as are the much bigger .40 and .45 rounds, respectively. Vests are designed to stop any kind of blunt impact (such as a bullet from just about any pistol and most non-slug shotgun blasts), but you are correct in saying most vests are not built to stop slashing knife attacks.

        February 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  16. palintwit

    That pic is what Sarah Palin looks like without her glasses and make-up.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  17. Demitri Martin

    Yes, I know I just typed my name in wrong...what of it?

    February 14, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  18. roland

    nice one it can be useful?

    February 14, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  19. tacc2

    Reminds me of the way (good) swords are made. A core of softer steel surrounded by harder steel. This way, the hard steel on the outside can hold an edge, but the whole sword is still very flexible and will resist breakage.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  20. Thinker

    Should have posted picture of the arapaima as well. I will google it, but you know would have been a nice touch

    February 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  21. tengu

    Troll much???? I always think its funny that people exhibit "email balls" when there is no way in hell they would say that in person.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Marzena

      Back in the 1960e2€™s, Milton Rokeach, of the University of Michigan, wrote one of the seminal books about the tmaenl processes of prejudice. In it, he noted that people who are chronically anxious, insecure or frightened cling desperately to their belief system, and are too busy defending themselves against real or imagined threats to absorb information about reality. The more upset we are, the less we are able to consider other ideas, and the more stubbornly we cling to the beliefs that give us comfort and make us feel secure in a changing world.This is what we refer to as black and white thinking. Each of us has two frames of reference, what Rokeach called belief systems and disbelief systems. Our belief systems inform, for better or for worse, our everyday interactions with what we perceive as reality. They involve relatively fixed ideas. If racial prejudices are part of our belief systems, our behavior toward people of other ethnic backgrounds will reflect them. If we hold to particular religious convictions, they will illuminate our view of the world in those respects, to greater or lesser extent.That extent is related to our disbelief system, the things that others believe or seem to that are at variance with our beliefs. On a good day, when our lives are running smoothly and wee2€™re enjoying a feeling of well being, we may be able to consider other peoplee2€™s ideas with a degree of equanimity. We may be able to see their point, if not agree with it completely, and consider ways in which it does not necessarily conflict with our own world view.When, however, our world is looking bleak, we automatically revert to our own belief systems the emotional places where we feel most secure. The degree to which we do this is related to things like understanding of the big picture, level of education, amount of lifetime exposure to the beliefs of others, our long-term success in dealing with the world, our desire to be open minded, and various other factors including peer pressure (ite2€™s hard to be a liberal in a redneck bar). The important thing to remember is that we all do it, and we may never realize it.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  22. Ben

    Its called scale armor and was in use in ancient China, Greece and rome.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Ben

      You're confusing two very different aspects of the these scales.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:36 am |
      • Ben

        Different Ben.

        February 14, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • angryersmell

      They made bulletproof armor in ancient China? Amazing!

      February 14, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Bubba

      Ben you are confusing the point of the article. Before I read it, I thought the same thing, but it is not the design of overlapping scales (scale armor) but the material of the scale itself. Totally different thing.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:23 am |
      • Whorhay

        You are right about this being a materials science article. But materials science was a major part of making mideival armor also. They didn't use cast metals for the scales and plates after all. They used forged metals because they would be have more flexibility than cast metals while still retaining a lot of strength and hardness that made it useful as armor.

        Materials science was an even bigger deal in Sword crafting. There are examples of blades that were deliberately made of different blends of steel and iron literally woven together by a blacksmith and welded together to achieve an optimal amount of strength, spring and hardness in different parts of the blade. Even the manner and fluid in which the blade was cooled after a round at the anvil and forge was critical, too rapid of a cooling could completely ruin days or weeks of work by making a blade to brittle.

        February 14, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • ToddP

        Actually, it's the same concept. In the ancient world, they used the concept of fish scales to make superior armor, according to the technology of the day. Now, we are using the concept of fish scales to make superior armor according to the technology of today. Same concept; newer technology.

        February 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Ben

      Or is it?

      February 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • Dont Care

        really Dont

        February 15, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  23. Homer

    Wow! Looks just like my mother-in-law!

    February 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • ready

      your wife must be ugly then

      February 14, 2012 at 1:47 am |
      • Fred

        You should see what Homer looks like...

        February 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  24. jimzcarz

    The Reptilian's are trying to assimilate us....Be careful out there!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Adam

      It's like an H.P. Lovecraft story...

      February 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  25. powderPUFF

    theres nothing mindboggling about it, GOD loves to surprise us, in good ways and the CREATOR likes a thank you now and again

    February 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Johny5

      Yes, you are correct evolution is a marvelous thing.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:54 am |
      • Juanito

        Evolution is believed by half-baked agnostics(including myself before my conversion) and pushed by those who with an agenda, but not true scientists. Evolution violates the Laws of Thermodynamics(read ENERGY, ENERGY DECAY, ORGANIC LIFE FROM NON-ORGANIC SUBSTANCES), mutation(information is lost, not added, when cells mutate. Devolution is more like it), and also all levels of Probalibilty(even the less than a fraction of a tenth of a percent a cell mutates and adds information, the statistical probability of going from a single cell organism to the complexity of the human eye even had Darwin doubting his theory). His Eternal Kingdom is inherited by what you believe, specifically in His Son Jesus Christ, not what you think you know. Many will miss the gate by just 18 inches(the distance between your heart and your brain). May God bless you all and help open the eyes of your heart to Him.

        February 14, 2012 at 10:18 am |
      • Chris R

        You are actually wrong about evolution and the law of thermodynamics. First off the law doesn't prohibit the growth of large complex structures. Look at stars, planets, and galaxies. We have *seen* the development of stars out of primordial gas and dust. Direct observations shows it. So how can the laws of thermodynamics be true? Because it's true depending on the frame of reference. For example, if your frame of reference is a coffee cup the law states that the heat will dissipate. However, that is only true for that individual coffee cup. If you expand the frame of reference to the entire kitchen you can see that coffee is being brewed and the cup can be refilled. In other words, the law does *not* in anyway prevent an input of energy from outside of the frame of reference. So if you look at evolution what you see is a frame of reference that encompasses the history of the earth. In that frame of reference we definitely see the evolution of more complex structures from more primordial ones (cf – the growth of crystalline structures in rocks and gems). This is possible because the frame of reference is getting an energy input from the Sun and the hot core of the Earth. If we expand to a larger frame of reference – the universe as a whole – you see the eventual running down of the universe and a collapse into entropic conditions (the heat death of the universe). However, that is only true at that large scale. At smaller scales complex structures can develop as energy is moved from one frame of reference to another.

        I can put this to you in another way if you like. If the laws of thermodynamics *always* moved things from complex to simplistic (order to chaos in other words) why do foetuses develop into babies? Why do babies grow up into children and then to adults? Obviously it's possible to create complex structures (babies, cars, etc) if there is an input of energy into the local thermodynamic system. As such it's obvious that the thermodynamic rejection of evolution is wrong.

        Look, I'm a Catholic. I believe in God and the Mysteries and Grace and Salvation. However, I also believe that God works in far more subtle ways than simply declaring that something must be. I believe that God created the rules of the universe (the physics, the constants, the laws) and then let things develop as it would happen. Look, we got a great big smart brain. That's a real gift. If we don't use that brain to explore and study the world around us, to uncover the workings of nature, to peer into the methodology of God that's a waste. It's turning our back on the gifts that God has given us. That's an insult in my view.

        February 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • I = rubber, U = glue

        Sorry Juanito,

        Based on your rambling, You obviously know nothing about Evolution or Thermodynamics. None of what you are spouting is close to being true. You are in the group some call "History Deniers" You are misinformed by other History Deniers as to background and theory of Evolution. You have probably been told that we evolved from chimpanzees and that if evolution were true, then man should have grown wings so we could fly. All of these are falsehoods that have been propagated by History Deniers to discredit Evolution.

        Just as you would tell us to read the bible with an open heart. I have read it, you can argue whether are not my heart was "open". So, I will tell you to read "The greatest show on Earth, The Evidence for Evolution" by Richard Dawkins. It will go through countless facts and explanations about why evolution has and is still occurring.

        Please educate yourself on what you so adamately disagree with. I'm with you, it is absurd to say we evolved from chimpanzees. But, that is not what the theory of evolution claims to be true.

        February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • jjoep199

        Just one simple question: Why couldn't God just have started the whole evolution process? No one can, or should, attempt to think that they have any idea whatsoever about how he (or she) was thinking during creation. All of you who doubt evolution are making the assumption that a succession of story tellers had a direct line to God's thought processes.

        February 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • I = rubber, U = glue

        There is a problem with Evolution vs. Religion for those who believe in Adam and Eve. The tree of evolution does not support all human life coming from one single pair of human ancestors.

        If you agree with all the facts that support evolution (any honest, educated person will agree), then you cannot believe the story of Adam and Eve to be taken literally. If Adam and Eve were not real, then Original Sin was never committed. If Original Sin did not occur, then there was no need for Jesus to be crucified. Etc.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Joey

        Chris R put it quite well. Science is discovering things at an increasing rate. Im talking factual science, not even theoretical. To dismiss the facts based on a belief, rather than accepting the facts as part of your beliefs, is folly. Those who eschew religion can rely on the information science has to offer, while those who believe that all science is a gift from their god can explore, and appreciate, how he/she did it. In the end, faith or no faith, the facts remain.

        February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        Juanito, nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that we have to deny our intellect or science. The Bible was written by men, who are fallible. It's been changed over time (look up its history) to please monarchs and to denigrate women. All the chapters written by women who witnessed Jesus and His works were taken out because they were women.

        It's a book, Juan. It contradicts itself in many places, or haven't you noticed?

        BTW, we have seen evolution take place. Don't you know the story of the moths in Britain? They were all white in colour. When the Industrial Revolution came and everything was coloured with soot, within 20 years all the moths were black in colour. That, my friend, is evolution.

        February 15, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • USCitizen

      And every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

      I pity you, for without a change of heart, on the day you stand before our Creator, He will open the Lamb's Book of Life, and, not finding your name (not that He NEEDS the book mind you), will state, "Depart from Me, for I never knew you".

      That will be the saddest day for you, my friend.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:24 am |
      • yahmez the mad

        USCitizen, you are off topic. Just a reminder, we were talking about body armor made similar to fish scales, not bible babble.

        February 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
      • Nana

        that the gaps in the fossil rroced were the biggest problems with his theory that can be held against it, also that picture of macro evolution you have is rediculous because that is only the picture of the theory in which was only a drawing to help explain but it is no evidence, and honestly it is still relavent even if we don't believe in evolution, i don't and i can stll say that it is relavent, because the problems in which the Bible addresses are still problems today, i have nothing to say about the hitler comment becuase i don't believe in evolution so that in no way refutes any of my beliefes, and although I do believe ina 6 day creation it is with open mindedness, i think that it is possible for it to have been six twentyfour hour days but thats not what i think i believe that the bible was created by GOD but phisicly written by man, so sence in heaven and heck their is no such thing as time, what GOD considers a day and what we consider a day are two diffrent things we see it as twentyfour hous and he probobly sees it as alot longer, longer then 10,000 years, and even though i am a fundamentalist, i am open to the idea that i could be wrong and their might not be a GOD, or that i might be wrong, but i have never seen any better evedence for any belife then the Christian beliefe, as i have explained their are to many big holes in the evolutionary theory to be considerd a fact beyond a reasonable doubt, also as i have said in a previouse comment on another one of your posts is that science can not prove anything to say that it can would be to arrogant, the best you can say is that you have a theory that has some evidence to support it but you can not call it fact, your abiogenesis is allready considered wrong, spontanious generation theory has already been knocked out the door, this i know w=from school, and again we don't have that much fossil evidence , and their is a giant hole in the fossil reecord that is to big to make assumptions , and again our genetics are closer to a mouse then it is to a monkey, we are over ninty percent the sam as a mouse and only somewhere in the seventy percent range of a monkey, that is including spinal structure, also no according to darwins theory of evolution, the africans, the caucasions, the asains, and the native americans all came from four diffrent species of ape, if you read an unabriged copy of the origen of species darwin has some really racist things in their, an no you are compleatly wrong about why Christians still cling to an almighty GOD, we arn't affraid of death at all, if someperson came to my door and shot me i won't be affraid we all die and if that is my time then that is my time, and i have friends with the same veiw, and death is hard to cope with that is a fact, but it is hard to cope with no matter what your religion, if your closest friend dies or your wife dies it will be hard to cope with, and i don't see that much comfort only a little in it i see it as truth is evedince that supprts it so i'm doing what i feel i'm instructed to do, and i live like any other person i don't waste my time banking on a shot of an afterlife i'm confident that their is and i'm practiceing my religion and doing what i am comanded to and have repented like i am comanded to so that i may be in heaven after I pass away.again thank you for reading and GOD Bless, Alex

        March 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        Please don't do drugs before posting... Use of punctuation greatly aids the reader to follow your thought pattern, stating something as fact without backing it up is akin to talking out of your a$$...

        God Be less.

        March 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Sean

      The more righteous religious types try to sound the crazier they come off.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • scott

      Thank you, God, for kick starting evolution millions and millions of years ago.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
      • Marc

        I thought that was Chuck Norris, but with a roundhouse kick.

        February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • atroy

      Just a warning UScitizen....that book will also exclude the names of those who judge others.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • reality check

      YEAH!!! GOOOOO DARWIN !!!!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  26. Gomez the Gipsy Guy

    Why does man make everything nature has to offer into a weapon of some sort?

    February 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Fjones

      Yes, how dare man try to make armor by copying armor.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • jim d

      it's not for a weapon, dummy. it's for a bullet-resistant vest (which protects u from bullets)
      a life jacket protects you from drowning and a sweater vest protects you from pretty girls.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm |

        Hey! Stop messing with Santorum. He rocks those vests like nobody else can.

        February 14, 2012 at 8:46 am |
      • Mike

        I'm wearing a sweater vest...but I think it's my tendency to be dumbstruck when I am in the company of pretty girl that is more the problem.

        February 14, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • Demitiri Martin

        Hey, stop stealing my jokes!

        February 14, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Marine5484

      Because nature provides the best picture on how to properly develop such technology. We've been building weapons and armor to protect us from those weapons for a few thousand years.......nature has been doing this for millions. (And all the religious people out there I don't want to hear your opinion on the subject....or I will find you and throw a fossil at your head)

      February 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • Sam I. Am

        It would be even funnier if you threw a coprolite at their head! 😀

        February 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        They wouldn't understand the irony, Sam. Plus, that would be a complete waste of a perfectly good coprolite.

        February 15, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Drowlord

      The natural world is so violent. Everything is killing something and trying not to be killed by something else, so a considerable portion of nature is invested in weaponry and armor.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • Monkeyman

        Think of the swordfish and the cobra. Built-in weapons. Think of the platypus..oh wait, forget that one. God had extra parts lying around after making the other critters so he made one of his own. 😀

        February 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • Steve

        I like your joke but I want to point out that the Platypus is actually very poisonious. They have good natural defenses 🙂

        February 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        Steve, you're somewhat in error. It's only the male platypus that has the spur with venom. The female platypus is defenseless.

        The male uses the spur in combat with other males during mating season when competing for females. It's also used for defense against unwary scientists who attempt to capture them for research.

        February 15, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • bspurloc

      aka why does man want to survive???

      February 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Pal

      Yup, we even use flowers to attract women. How devious we are!

      February 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  27. dudley0415

    They'll have to do something about the smell.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  28. fish

    Monty Python "fish dance"

    February 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  29. holyswiss

    This is great news for professional jousters!

    February 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Grumpster

      Soon to appear at a Medieval Times near you.

      February 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  30. Deer in the headlights

    I'm pretty sure everyone here is missing the point about how the military will implement such technology. No it's not another "Dragonskin" like product but rather genetic manipulation of our soldier's dna to create a new bread of fighting men with fish scaled/armor "skin". Wearable body armor will become a thing of the past when our soldiers will have actual scaled armor bodies... Evolution...resistance is futile.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Deer in the headlights

      pretty sure I meant *breed rather than a loaf of bread... 😉

      February 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • Jean

        I'm pretty sure he meant bread, now that you've mentioned loaf, because you've gotta have loaves with your fishes right? RIght? RIGHT?!?

        February 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • 13Directors

      I hear you.

      February 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • lol

      I have some extra tin foil if you were thinking about making yourself a hat.

      February 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
      • dudley0415

        I stealing that line. Has to be done.

        February 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • dudley0415

      LOL: Actually, that's pretty damm funny.

      February 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  31. Griffin

    Not evolution. God was looking around for a pretty skin to put on his new fish, and he took a look in the future, saw the handsome armor being made in the middle ages, all silvery and fish scaley, and decided to putscales on his new fish. Has nothing to do with the predators that God put there. Smile, you're on candid camera!.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bob

      Smile! You have no life.

      February 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • tapu

      So... where'd that world he had to look ahead to come from??

      You can't make religion logical. It is based on the abandonment of logic.

      February 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
      • pipefighter

        Now we have abandonment issues over fish scales. I knew I should have stayed home today.

        February 14, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  32. Q

    Wow another subject that brings debate among the scholars and darwinians go figure.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Sean

      That would be between the religious nuts and common sense.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  33. Wobbles

    The article is about the scales of an arapaima but no picture of the subject? Bah, humbug.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  34. Q

    Nope not correct with Persia using scale armor. Metals were soft back then. Even chain armor was a luxury and usually reserved for the very weathy.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  35. GonzoG

    This has already been done–it was called (get this) "SCALE MAIL".

    February 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Thomas

      All the government needed to do is ask any 14 year old D&D player. 🙂

      February 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • Sea Dog

        There aren't any 14-year old D&D players anymore. We are all in our 40's. 🙂

        February 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • Thomas

        Or 50's in our case. 🙂

        February 14, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • Jeff

        The geeks shall inherit the earth!

        February 14, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Kenneth

      It's not about the design, it's about the material.

      February 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Joe

      Yes, but the scale mail I use it made from DRAGON scales.

      February 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  36. robin

    yeah, I think its called ChainMaille

    February 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  37. hecep

    For the interim, I suggest that we attach arapaima carcuses to our bodies. The smell would be an added deterent in hand-to-hand combat.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Wow

      Classic! Arise my fish-soldiers and conquer the landwalkers!

      February 14, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  38. Greenspam

    Today, President Obama ordered one to protect himself against the viscous nail-biting attacks by the Republicans and Fox News.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Thomas

      Won't work. This armour is effective against piranha attacks. Not effective against snake and rat attacks.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Tim

      You are correct to point out that all the world revolves around U.S. politics...thank you

      February 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • doughuts

        As a amtter of fact, it does. Which is pretty pathetic of the rest of the world. Don't you have anythign better to do?

        February 14, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  39. sleeestax

    Welcome to 600 AD jeez

    February 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  40. Zeke

    Troops will eventually get armored vests so that just their arms and legs get blown off. Sweet!

    February 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  41. Rob

    CNN, please stop reporting on the ways our American universities are wasting money in the name of science. Why would someone spend their time on this subject. Current bulletproof vests are ... bulletproof! Give me a knife and I'll slice that Brazilian fish up for dinner.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Ever heard of armor-piercing rounds? Finding better material that can stop all ammunition is worth investing in.

      In fact, all science and discovery is worth investing in.

      CNN. Please continue to report on these things, what you can stop reporting on is all that celebrity trash.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • joe

      You'd be surprised at how incapable a "bulletproof" vest is at stopping multiple 7.62 mm rifle rounds.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Bemused

      Rob, there's no such thing as a bulletproof vest, merely soft/hard body armor designed to stop specific threat levels. Stop watching TV, your brain is turning to mush.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Duhh

      I'm pretty sure a fish scale bullet proof vest would be a lot lighter, and flexible than the vests in productivity today. The ones in use today are comprised of thick layers of nylon and a combination of metal and ceramic plates. Not too flexible and adds unnecessary weight. These new fish scales offer a possibility for a full body, light weight, flexible suit that will add more protection to soldiers and enable more maneuverability.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Marine5484

      No the vest themselves are not bullet proof just the plates worn in the vest......and they are stiff, and heavy and limit movement. You really do feel like a turtle in all your gear.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
      • Sean

        I always wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. Now a Ninja Turtle with a M4!? Hels ya!

        February 14, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • O'Neill

      Bulletproof vest is a misnomer, nothing in this arena is bullet proof, only bullet resistant. Even the best soft armor vest with a ceramic composite hard plate can only stop a few rounds of common hunting rifle ammo before they become useless. Also, the impact and the kinect energy will likely still severely bruise, break bones and likely knock the wind out of you (you may live from taking some lower caliber sniper rounds, but you're combat ineffective).

      There are plenty of calibers and ammo types that easily defeat body armor. Go big (say .50AMG sniper rifles) or go small and fast (a standard 5.7×28 round can penetrate thru common body armor). Go above and beyond the "lead ball" with ammo types like armor piercing / incendiary that melt thru body armor and even tank armor, and you'll quickly find out how "non-bulletproof" that outfit really is.

      The point of the article is to cite a better way of designing the materials and the structure of the vest such that it's lighter, stronger (yet softer to absorb the kinetic energy of the round hitting the person) and more flexible to allow easier movement when trying to dodge the bullets and get from point A to B in combat (whether it's on the battlefield or in the streets as a police officer). Pinnacle's DragonArmor came close to the "fish scale design" and was impressive but failed on a couple key areas that needed improvement. This would improve upon that design with better "scale" material and hopefully better ways to connect/overlap the scales and keep everything flexible but in place.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Generalist

      So called bullet proof vests got that way because people did research on ways to keep bullets from killing people. They get better because materials science research is done. If this research is done in an academic environment, more people have access to it due to disclosure laws. If it is done in a commercial environment, patents can restrict how it is used, at least for the life of the patent.

      In many instances, 'useless' pure research has proven to be quite valuable when someone figures out a way to apply it. Consider, for example, the 'useless' research that went into the radar cross-section reduction of the so called stealth fighter. It started as 'useless' pure research that the American military applied to the F117A. Oddly enough, it was RUSSIAN research.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Chartreuxe

      Rob, parading your lack of education before the world is embarrassing the rest of us who graduated from schools in America. There's no such thing as 'bullet-proof.' Ignorance is no excuse.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  42. Truefax

    It's called Scale Mail, long ago they would lay down scales of iron over chainmail. Lighter and more flexible than plate armor, but able to defend against piercing strikes better than chain mail, which was only effective against slashing weapons.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • read before commenting.

      Did you read the article? No, I guess not. This wasn't about scale armor. It was about the MATERIAL.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • sleeestax

        Really? So the military anticipates protecting our soldiers from piranha teeth?

        February 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        Sleestax, evidently you haven't lost any relatives or known anyone who has lost their life in Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps you should refrain from smartass comments on boards.

        You're offending those of us who have done.

        February 15, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  43. Ophil

    Actually, Dragonscale armor is ineffective. Google it. The ceramic plates that supposedly will protect someone if they fall over a grenade (which it wont, because your internal organs will be liquified regardless) are prone to fracturing and were proven in multiple military tests to not be as effective as a Kevlar+ceramic plate vest. Bullets would either pass through the vest, or throw shards of the scaled armor into the body.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Fred Murre

      Indeed. The problem with the scale/mail of DragonSkin, was that as armor, it is only as tough as the weakest component: which was the mounting fabric that kept the individual scales in place. When that tore or wore loose – and let scales start to drop then you had problems of vulnerability and secondary fragmentation as you mentioned.

      Also the scale methodology has some problems with projectiles coming from low angles or 'against the grain/flow' of the scales- which can cause the scales to trap and deflect projectiles into and 'underneath'

      February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  44. The bad guys and Dragonskin

    I think the Orcs used it in Return of the King.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Steve

      didn't the orc's lose in that fight?

      February 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  45. A crack in the armor?

    Scale up all you want. It didn't help that big largemouth bass I caught Saturday.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • SilentBoy741

      I was wondering where my wife went. Oh wait, you said "bass". I thought you said something else.

      February 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
      • Sean


        February 14, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  46. So that Niagra stuff really works?

    "You often find this in nature, where you have something hard on the outside, but it rides on something softer that gives it toughness,” Hmmmm...

    February 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  47. Dave

    As long as your enemy doesn't have a fillet knife, you will be ok...

    February 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  48. Tom

    But our troops aren't getting it, they are the ones that need it. You can get it privately, as a contractor, but Uncle Sam wont foot the bill

    February 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Wingsfan

      Of they will foot the bill for the R&D they just won't buy any of it once it is done...

      February 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • So what's new?

      If they did, you'd be the first one in line complaining about it.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Zeke

      Half the soldiers over there ARE independent contractors.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      When my nephew was in Afghanistan, a private company paid for his outfit's armour. True story. Who was president at that time?

      Bush. Appalling.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  49. thills

    It's called DrangonSkin, Google it, it's already being built and used.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  50. thills

    it's called Dragon Skin-- Google it, it's old news.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Tom

      Thanks for the correction, but like I said, it's the second time it's come up.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Nevertheless, it's not made of criss-crossed collagen fibers. Read this article again. This is new research for a new product.

      February 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  51. Tom

    This is actually the second time this concept has come up. There was a company that made a product called "Dragonskin" that resembled the scales on a fish, though it wasn't the composite mineral, collagen material spoken of here. It was extremely effective at stopping even high powered rounds of ammunition, but, the government refused to finance it for our troops because of the high cost. Too bad, too, because it was lighter, cooler, and because the scales we interlocked and not permananty fixed, there was much more ease of movement for the wearer. I hope this vest can be made and distributed in a less costly manner to all LEO's and troops.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I heard about that stuff. It's pretty awesome. I saw a video once of the creators of it weighing it down on top of a live grenade and it didn't get through the armor. The person probably would have died from the concussion but not from any shrapnel or hole in the chest

      February 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Doodle

      Actually soldiers can use the Dragonscale armor they just have to upfront the csots

      February 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        I actually heard at some point that they weren't allowed for some reason. That it wasn't really enforced but technically they weren't suppose to. I don't remember where I heard that from, and it may be completely wrong but that's just what I heard

        February 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • mike

      Don't worry, I'm sure China already ripped it off and is making it right now.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • kermit

        Actually, the ancient Chinese already made scale armor out of hardened paper

        February 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • jeff

      This article is more about the design of each fish scale (hard on the outside, chewy on the inside) rather than the overlapping nature of the scales. Yes, Dragon Skin had overlapping scales, but each scale was nothing like what these fish scales are in terms of individual design.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Interesting

      Actually, the DoD didn't buy Dragonskin because it didn't pass their environmental endurance test, not because of the cost. Do you really think that the military, who has no problem spending $2billion on a single fighter jet, would have a problem spending $1000 on body armor? The fact is, if it can't survive being in the conditions that soldiers are expected to work in for an extended period of time, then they don't want it. I can't say that I blame them.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
      • Yoi

        Different branches -different budgets. While the Air Force can drop that 2 billion on a jet (that will never leave the ground), the Army has to be a little more prudent financially in purchasing items to outfit the entire force. While it may not have passed the endurance tests, with time the Dragon Skin could have been superior, but the military needed to field body armor immediately.

        February 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  52. JimiJoni

    Sounds a little fishy to me.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  53. heavyhorse

    scal armour has been around sice 1800 bc at least..nothing new here but the materials

    February 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • mike

      Really? Where? You mean Chainmail? Not the same thing homie.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
      • Old Grump

        No, scale armor was widely used in the Middle East and Asia. Not the same as chain mail

        February 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
      • D

        Ancient Persia, at least, used scale armour (decidedly different than chainmail). but thanks for playing!

        February 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • progressivefail

        no, not chain mail, it's known as scale armor and it's been around for at least two thousand years. just google "scale armor"

        February 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • rapierpoint

        Try doing some research. Scale armor was used prior to the Romans. Check out Roman Lamellar armor.

        February 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • Thomas

        If anyone is confused, just ask a D&D player. 🙂

        February 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Johny5

      I have one quarter scale armor. What kind of scale is everyone elses armor.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  54. Mike M

    Just another example of what can happen through billions of years of happy accidents and random mutations...NOT! The more we learn about the natural world the more it points to a grand accidents here. He is the engineer and architect of all creation.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Inner Fish

      If true, why would your amazing designer create worms that only eat (human) eyes?

      February 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • nathaniel


      February 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Dario

        After seeing the deronstmations Rick Davis did while developing and marketing Second CHance Body Armor, I would judge that his work, and willingness to risk his own life to show the excellence of body armor, did a lot more to convice officers to wear their body armor than the NIJ test reports did.

        May 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I don't think you understand evolution in the least. If you had any knowledge of it you would know just how obviously true it is

      February 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • John

      What? This is a clear example of evolution. The fish evolved in the same environment as a natural predator and thus fish with a mutation causing stronger and stronger scales were naturally selected. Does this really not make sense or are you just choosing to be ignorant?

      February 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        It's called the Red Queen Race.

        February 15, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Old Grump

      If ignorance is bliss you must be the happiest guy on the planet.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • J. Gladmore

      If God is the Ultimate Designer, then why is nature full of poor designs? You cannot cherry pick the 'good' examples and forget about the 'bad' ones. Though people entrenched in their belief usually only notice the facts that support their position.

      The human eye is not a good design. Where the optic nerve enters it causes a blind spot in each eye. The blood vessels are on the surface of the retina instead of behind it. It uses more muscles to move it than required.

      The human heart is a horrible design. It's 100% critical to a human living (the eye is not) and does not have any redundancy for damage valves or clogged arteries. But, the roach has a sturdy heart that can even stop without problems. God must really be the ultimate designer!

      There are many design problems just in the human body... (urethra going through the prostate gland, how egg has to travel down fallopian tubes, how male testes have to descend, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)... then you can start looking in the rest of nature.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jean

      ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! Comment Win!

      February 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  55. Teresa

    I do not know if i would want to wear that next to my body

    February 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Inner Fish

      You wouldn't actually have fish scales!

      February 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      It would doubtless be an improvement.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • no

      Teresa, you are dumb.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  56. lildeekayjayaye

    Wow, thats awesome. Nature is truly mindboggling!

    February 13, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • I'm The Best!


      This article was great. Keep them coming!

      February 13, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • The Ultimate Scientist

      Biomimetics, copying nature to improve human life. These scientific articles always make me praise the Creator and his amazing handiwork. He is the ULTIMATE designer. Very interesting.

      February 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • S_D_G

        I think what you meant to say is, evolution has done its job wonderfuly. Species have adapted and evovled to survive.

        February 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • Judas Priest

        Never having to think about anything must leave you a lot of time to improve your cribbage game.

        February 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • timmy

        saying something does not make it true....for such extraordinary claims, one would need extraordinary proof of your god, which you dont have.

        February 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Steve O

      Jesus Christ, Ultimate Scientist. Are you serious?

      February 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • Mike in Nj

        I believe SDG got the right idea – it's math/physics/chemistry/biology/evolution.

        The universe is wondrous and answers all the questions it is posed with, not because it was 'designed', but because what things DON'T work, it DISCARDS for the things that DO work. (BTW, I DO believe in God, but that has nothing to do with how I believe the universe works. Thinking this way prevents laziness.)

        February 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Sean

        @ Mike in Nj
        You are as delusional as the rest.

        February 14, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Peter

      Cool. Nature never stops amazing me.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |


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