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I am interested in the concept of a chitin endoskeleton (rather than exoskeleton).

In the role of a humanoid internal structural skeletal system, how would chitin compare to bone? Would it be as strong? More flexible, or less so? Would it resist breakage better, or be more susceptible to fracture? Perhaps heavier, or lighter?

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  • $\begingroup$ Being more flexible it would absorb impact better i.e a car hitting you would have less chances to kill you. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 6 '16 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ I'm dubious as to whether it would be strong enough to hold us upright. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 10 '18 at 5:57
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  • Faster healing. Chitin has a direct effect on Human health.

  • Lighter skeleton. oOr bone takes 30%–40% the weight of a healthy non-obese adult.

  • Our caloric intake would need to be bigger cause chitin consumes more energy.

  • We would be more fragile, as bone gathers minerals over time to become stronger.

  • Less age related handicaps, because bones after a certain age start to lose all the minerals, deform, bend and become thinner.

  • The skeleton would be more flexible which means impacts would be more physically painful but less destructive and deadly. A punch in the chest will hurt more but the hit would be almost completely absorbed by the rib cage and the surface of skin instead of your internal organs, like lungs and heart. Obviously this only if chitin is supported by other proteins like resilin, otherwise it would be as rigid and fragile as glass

Minor effects would be higher risks of cancer due to faster regeneration, and losing a lot of teeth. Chitin, being more flexible, would allow for a tooth to fall more easily in case of incidents. Just like sharks we would change about 30'000 or more teeth during our lifetime.

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    $\begingroup$ Beautiful. Thanks very much for your insight. $\endgroup$ – Yardbird Aug 6 '16 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ Worth noting: Chitin rarely appears in nature in its raw form. It is most often found mixed with other materials to form composites with their own unique properties. For example, seashells are a mixture of chitin and calcium carbonate in a matrix which has properties of both materials. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Aug 6 '16 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ In which way does chitin (or bones) consume energy? Just for building it, or during usage? $\endgroup$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 6 '16 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ Building it is easy with a vegetable and mushroom rich diet, maintaining it is just slightly more expensive cause chitin is more prone to erosion than bone. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 6 '16 at 22:32
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to consider cephalopod chitin as well as arthropod chitin. Squid beaks are incredibly tough: scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/03/27/… Nautiluses reinforce their beaks with minerals - and can bite chunks out of each other's shells! $\endgroup$ – DrBob Aug 13 '16 at 19:09

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