Neutral theory

5 Months ago

How hero shrews' bizarre backbones evolved: Dense spines -- inside and out -- hint that the shrews are good at scrunching up like an inchworm

Hero shrews have some of the weirdest backbones in the animal kingdom -- they're incredibly strong, with stories of a 0.25-pound shrew supporting a grown man standing on its back. No one knows what they use these super-strong spines for, though, so scientists took micro-CT scans to examine the backbones inside and out. They discovered evidence that the bones are exposed to lots of stress from back-to-front, suggesting the shrews scrunch up like inchworms.