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Still Waters

Porcupine's prickly defence mystery solved

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Porcupine quills easily penetrate flesh but prove hard to remove due to microscopic barbs, say scientists.

North American porcupines are famed for their unique defence as they carry 30,000 quills on their backs.

Researchers studied the structures to understand how they effortlessly enter flesh but do not leave as smoothly.

Tiny backward-facing barbs studding the tip of each quill were found to reduce penetration force and maximise staying power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20628302

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So whose job was it to count those 30,000 quills? And is it exactly 30,000? On each animal? No ± involved?

Makes sense to me why the quills wouldn't come out easily. I thought this was something they knew ages ago.

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So whose job was it to count those 30,000 quills? And is it exactly 30,000? On each animal? No ± involved?

Makes sense to me why the quills wouldn't come out easily. I thought this was something they knew ages ago.

Anyone who was stuck with one certainly knew it!

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So whose job was it to count those 30,000 quills? And is it exactly 30,000? On each animal? No ± involved?

Makes sense to me why the quills wouldn't come out easily. I thought this was something they knew ages ago.

Exactly, even I heard a long time ago that they have barbed quills.

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