Sunday, August 19, 2007

More on Brains - The Woodpecker Factor

Question: How is it possible for woodpeckers to peck so hard without getting brain damage?

Answer: This has been the subject of neurological research more than 20 years ago (The Lancet, 28 February 1976, p 454, Archives of Neurology, 1979, vol 36, p 370).

Shock waves are transmitted less readily in the woodpecker's head than in a human's because the former has a narrow space between the skull and the brain, with very little fluid, and the woodpecker's brain is packed tightly by dense yet spongy bone which buffers the force to the brain. Additionally, some of the muscles in the woodpecker's head contract, which helps to absorb and distribute the shock. Structures from the base of the tongue extend round the brain and may also absorb shocks.

Source: New Scientist

21 comments:

onesingle said...

Hi David! I got a couple good woodpecker shots today. I am going to link to this post of yours, because it's so cool! It will be sometime this weekend or early next week (I'm backed up with photos and projects!).

Thank you for this info!

Andrée said...

Hi David! I got a couple good woodpecker shots today. I am going to link to this post of yours, because it's so cool! It will be sometime this weekend or early next week (I'm backed up with photos and projects!).

Thank you for this info!

Andrée said...

(sorry, I forgot to sign out of the One Single Impression account, and now I can't delete the first duplicate comment! aaarrrgggghhhh) But you can!

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