Intestinal Directions

On Pharyngula, PZ Myers reports that the curling and packing of intestines (which in humans grow to over twenty feet long) follows “simple mathematical rules” akin to “the Fibonacci spirals we see in the head of a sunflower or the coils of a nautilus shell.” Researchers successfully recreated the characteristic curves of a chick gut using lifeless rubber simulacra, and also predicted them using computer models, proving that although every species has its own stereotypical pattern of gut construction, DNA is not the architect. And in an older post on Dean’s Corner, Dr. Jeffrey Toney shares some stunning false-color images of Drosophila intestines, proving that beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder—it’s also in the belly of the beast.