The book of the mimicry of the living


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The Facts


Transparency is a suspect concept to start with. I’ve never seen anything to suggest that squids can even pull this off! Chromataphores are organelles in squid cells that modify the pigmentation of the cell to change its light reflective properties. By definition they must be opaque to do that job.  Sure the squid can pull off some neat tricks to make it look like the ground underneath, but that’s through mimicking whats below it on it’s upper surface, not through turning into a living glass sculpture.

Like many cephalopods squids use camouflage to protect against predation. The video above describes the mechanism well, and in the later half proves that the chromatophores change in size to change the overall skin colour to match it’s surroundings. It’s not a cloak of invisibility. Further, Hanlon says:

“We found only three to four basic pattern templates that they use to achieve all this camouflage”

Cephalopods don’t even mimic things perfectly. They just do it good enough. So no, squid camouflage ≠transparency. There are animals which truly are transparent like the gorgeous little Penderson’s Shrimp

It's like you see right through me... [cc]

It’s like you see right through me… [cc]

But is a transparent building even a good idea? Keep that in mind for later.


Author: davergp

Environmental Geoscience BSc. Environmental Design of Buildings MSc. Bonsai Hobbyist, Woodland Enthusiast, Environ-mentalist.

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