A Scientific Perspective On Wolverine’s Superpowers

When the next inevitable installment of the X-Men series, we will all, once again, get to see Wolverine in action.

Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman in the X-Men series) is a mutant and one of the X-Men who has, in addition to showing off an incredibly ripped body, a number of formidable powers. These are powers that almost every human being would love to have. I can’t speak for everyone, but anyone who has seen the X-Men series or read the comic books is undeniably in awe of Wolverine. He is a savage beast, and many consider him one of the toughest X-Men. He also has no sense of manners when it comes to negotiating. He has always been a magnet for trouble too, which makes for great movies, and is all the more reason for his fame amongst fans.

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Wolverine’s Powers

The one power that Wolverine possesses (and one that many people would kill for) is that he doesn’t seem to age! If you’ve seen this character before, then you would know that Wolverine doesn’t ever seem to get old. In fact, he looks cooler with every year that passes.

The other main power that Wolverine enjoys is his accelerated ‘healing power, which enables the wounds on his body to repair themselves far more quickly than normal humans. This ability makes him extraordinarily resistant to diseases, drugs, and toxins.

Finally, he has retractable claws that come out of the gaps between his knuckles. After doing their deadly job, they cleanly slip back inside his hands. The claws are also composed of a fictional metal, adamantium, which is said to be indestructible.

Wolverine: A Scientific Perspective

Since so many people seem to love his superpowers, we decided to figure out how his powers actually work. As you would expect, there is some science involved in all the powers he boasts about (minus the ‘lack of manners’ thing).

Healing Power: Let’s examine what happens when a normal person is injured or wounded.

When a person gets injured, blood flows to the site of the injury, carrying with it the protective defenses of our body – white blood cells. These B cells fight the infection caused by the injury, as clots are formed over the injury site to prevent further infection. At that point, sutures and scabs will form, and scar tissue is usually left behind.

In Wolverine’s case, the cells that are working together to repair the tissues at the injury site have to work at ultra-high speeds. The process of tissue reproduction is called ‘mitosis’ in normal human beings, but in Wolverine’s case, the process changes its name and adds a prefix to itself: hyper-mitosis. That basically explains what it does to Wolverine (or rather, to his foes).

Here’s a short video showing how quickly (and coolly) Wolverine is able to heal:

That was just referring to his physical injuries, but he’s also immune to various kinds of internal damages, such as poisonous effects or toxins. This is because the cells of Wolverine’s body react to foreign invaders (poison) at very high speeds and immediately dispatch B cells, which take care of these dangerous invaders in short order!

Anti-Aging: Aging in normal people typically occurs due to errors in DNA replication, causing wrinkles, liver spots, diseases, and a lack of pigment. DNA has a tail with many added proteins, but each time a cell replicates, some of those proteins are lost.

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Credits:Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Wolverine doesn’t age like his fellow mutants, let alone like humans. If he was to age in line with the ultra-fast healing process of his body, he would age extremely fast. He would look like a 60-year old before his 20th birthday.

However, that’s where his supernatural persona steps in and takes care of things. His internal mechanisms are mutated in such a way that the cells work at extremely high speeds only when his body detects an injury or a foreign agent in the bloodstream, and only at the precise location of the injury. This unnatural mechanism ensures that the lost proteins are replenished rapidly. This is why age-revealing factors like wrinkles and grey hair are not visible on his body.

Wolverine ageClaws: Wolverine has adamantium claws that come out as and when he wishes them to. Could that be any more awesome?

The claws are composed of a fictional metal adamantium, which covers Wolverine’s entire skeleton, and when coupled with his ultra-fast healing, this basically makes him invincible to any physical attack.

Wolverine, in the second movie, is confronted by a female mutant with the same type of claws, only she’s not one of the “good guys”. He kills her by injecting the liquid form of adamantium throughout her entire body using a syringe. He had to do something… there can only be one Wolverine!

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Ultra-fast healing, anti-aging properties, metal claws, and a killer body. It almost doesn’t seem fair.  Seems like whoever is looking down on mutants and handling their powers didn’t exactly hand them out evenly, huh?

If you’d like to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you can buy it here:

References:

  1. Healing – Wikipedia
  2. Mitosis – Wikipedia
  3. Why Do We Age? – Marquette University

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