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RESPONSES 2001-9 (Sept)

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Vashkoda writes...

Hey Greg. I haven't asked you any biology questions in a long time. I know that this topic has a tendency to irk you a little, so I limit myself to one subject: the gargoyles' stone-like skin.

1a) Is this substance more porous (like lava rock) than most kinds of stone (like granite)? I ask because you've said that a gargoyle's weight doesn't change when they transform, yet stone tends to be denser and far heavier than, say, a similar-sized piece of flesh or bone.

1b) If it is more porous, does that mean that it is easier to break apart than most kinds of stone? Would it have a greater tendency to crumble than to break into clean fragments?

2a) Would you say that this stone-like subtance is "alive", in the sense that biological processes are going on inside of it?

2b) If so, then would there be any changes in the substance's cohesion or other properties when a gargoyle dies in their sleep? i.e., does it become easier to break, or more solid? If Goliath and the others were only able to stay in such good shape over the centuries (no erosion by moss or ivy) because they were still "alive", I'm surprised that there were fragments of the Coldtrio preserved well enough to be used by Xanatos and Demona.

3a) Is it the "light energy" (for photosynthesis) or the "heat energy" of sunlight that gets stored and used by the gargoyles?

3b) Where would this energy be stored? Throughout their body, or only in their outer layer of skin where it is captured?

3c) Must it be solar energy, or could they also harvest artifical forms of light?

3d) Can they only capture this energy when they transform into the stone-like substance? (i.e., are the mechanisms needed to capture the energy only present when they are 'stone'?). Can the Mayan gargoyles, for example, still absorb any energy from sunlight when they are awake?

Thanks Greg. I hope this wasn't too painful for you (no more biology questions from me for at least several months, I promise).

Greg responds...

1a. I don't know.

1b. What does your observation tell you?

2a. To some limited extent, yes.

2b. Fragments is the key word.

3a. I'm guessing THERMAL energy. Just a guess.

3b. I don't know.

3c. I'm thinking heat, but I don't know.

3d. They need to be stone, but the pendants may compensate to some extent.

It was relatively painless, Vash, thanks.

Response recorded on October 10, 2001

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