The atomic structure of self-organizing iridium (Ir) induced nanowires on Ge(001) is studied by density functional theory (DFT) calculations and variable-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. The Ir induced nanowires are aligned in a direction perpendicular to the Ge(001) substrate dimer rows, have a width of two atoms and are completely kink-less. Density functional theory calculations show that the Ir atoms prefer to dive into the Ge(001) substrate and push up the neighboring Ge substrate atoms. The nanowires are composed of Ge atoms and not Ir atoms as previously assumed. The regions in the vicinity of the nanowires are very dynamic, even at temperatures as low as 77 K. Time-resolved scanning tunneling microscopy measurements reveal that this dynamics is caused by buckled Ge substrate dimers that flip back and forth between their two buckled configurations.