The Atlantic – Each year, half a million horseshoe crabs are captured and bled alive to create an unparalleled biomedical technology.
The thing about the blood that everyone notices first: It’s blue, baby blue.
The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn’t the color. It’s a chemical found only in the amoebocytes of its blood cells that can detect mere traces of bacterial presence and trap them in inescapable clots.
“This gel immobilized the bacteria but did not kill them,” Bang wrote in the 1956 paper announcing the substance. “The gel or clot was stable and tough and remained so for several weeks at room temperature.”
If there is no bacterial contamination, then the coagulation does not occur, and the solution can be considered free of bacteria. It’s a simple, nearly instantaneous test that goes by the name of the LAL, or Limulus amebocyte lysate, test (after the species name of the crab, Limulus polyphemus).
Man I hope horseshoe crabs don’t watch Fox News. All of our bitching about how we are a socialist country now, how the government takes our hard earned money and redistributes it to the poor? That shit must sound kinda petty to a horseshoe crab. While Tea Party conservatives are railing about Obamaphones, somewhere there is a horseshoe crab screaming…
“Oh you and your money can fuck right off! You pricks are taking our blood. You know, the shit we need to keep our bodies alive? You are taking it from us and redistributing it among yourselves. You have no natural right to have bacteria free drugs. You didn’t EARN the amebocyte lysate that coagulated the contamination making your drugs safe to consume, you took it from us, without compensation!”
How about when we complain that immigrants are all sucking the country dry? How can we give social security benefits to people who just got here, and illegally I might add? Well the horseshoe crab probably doesn’t want to hear it.
“Just got here? Just got here!?!?! You pricks have only been around for a couple of hundred thousand years. We’ve been here for HALF A BILLION! Who are the real “immigrants” here? Yeah you’re getting sucked dry, meanwhile I cut my claw in the wild and sawdust comes out!”
So next time you’re thinking about how bad you have it because of a few taxes and social programs, try to imagine someone sucking the blood out of your body so they can use it for themselves. We’ve got it pretty good compared the real victims of socialist America… the horseshoe crabs.
Free the crabs! Free the crabs!
P.S. Totally kidding, I’d much rather have bacteria free drugs and bloodless horseshoe crabs than die of smallpox. Fuck horseshoe crabs, evolve will ya, you’ve only had 500,000 years.Facebook: The Real Cape
Twitter: Hippie - Insane Tony
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