Photo: graibeard/Flickr

'Slug Glue' Could Replace Stitches

Scientists also investigating beetles, caddisflies

Athletes of the future may have their gashes closed up with a slug-based adhesive rather than stitches, a New York biologist says.

Andrew Smith, a professor from New York's Ithaca College, worked with undergraduate students to capture slugs and "milk" them to collect a defensive goo that the animals use to protect themselves in the wild. Upon analyzing the secretions, Smith and his helpers found that it was formed out of a combination of metal ions and a network of polymers that was neither completely solid nor completely fluid.

"Gel like this would make an ideal medical adhesive," Smith said. "It would stick to wet surfaces, and no matter how much the tissue flexed and bent, the gel would flex and bend with it. There would be no leakage or scarring."

Smith isn't the only scientist looking for a new glue in nature: German researchers are investigating a beetle that uses a biological adhesive to attach its eggs onto asparagus spears, while a University of Utah professor is looking at the natural glue produced by caddisflies.

Via Discovery


Longs Peak

Longs Peak     Photo: Navin75/Flickr

Hiker Dies on Longs Peak

Falls 150 feet

A Missouri man died after a 150-foot fall on Longs Peak Thursday, Rocky Mountain National Park officials announced. The 24-year-old man fell from The Narrows on the Keyhole Route, which had ice in several spots.

While park officials say the man survived the fall, he suffered multiple injuries. An off-duty park volunteer attempted CPR, but the man died despite their efforts, the Associated Press reports.

Due to high winds, helicopter crews have been unable to recover the man's body, though efforts will resume today. Officials say the Keyhole Route may be temporarily closed during air operations.


Growling grizzly bear

Growling grizzly bear     Photo: mackenzie and john/Flickr

Grizzly Bear Charges Group in Yellowstone

All survive

Two people were injured Thursday when a grizzly bear charged a group of hikers in Yellowstone National Park. Four hikers had traveled a few miles down a trail when they spotted a young grizzly bear. A sow grizzly then appeared and charged the group.

Two of the hikers were able to use their bear spray, and both bears fled, the Associated Press reports.

While all four hikers were able to walk out to the trailhead under their own power, one person was taken to the hospital to be treated for bite and claw wounds.

Fatal bear attacks are uncommon. Read how one man narrowly avoided death.