How Do Woodpeckers Avoid Brain Injury?
Slamming a beak against the torso of a corner would seem like an activeness that would cause headaches, jaw aches and serious neck and brain injuries. Yet woodpeckers can do this 20 times per second and suffer no ill effects. Woodpeckers are found in afforest areas worldwide, except in Australia. These birds have the strange ability to use their beaks to hammer into the trunks of trees to make holes to extract insects and fool. evening more impressive they do this without hurting themselves. We are materials scientists who study biological substances like bones, skins, feathers and shells found in nature. We are matter to in the skull and tongue bone structure of woodpeckers, because we think their strange human body could yield insights that could help researchers develop better protective head gear for humans.
Concussions in people
Woodpeckers endure many high impingement shocks to their heads as they peck. They have firm tail feathers and hook that help them keep their balance as their head moves toward the tree proboscis at 7 meters ” 23 feet ” per second. then, when their beak strikes, their heads slow down at about 1,200 times the impel of gravity ( g ). All of this occurs without the woodpecker sustaining concussions or mind price .
A concussion is a kind of traumatic brain injury caused by perennial blows to the read/write head. It is a common happening and happens frequently during reach sports like football or field hockey. Repeated traumatic genius wound finally causes a liberal brain disorderliness, chronic traumatic brain disorder ( CTE ), which is irreversible and results in symptoms such as memory loss, depression, impulsivity, aggressiveness and self-destructive behavior. The National Football League says concussions in football players occur at 80 g. so how do woodpeckers survive repeated 1,200 gigabyte impacts without harming their mind ? We have looked for the key secrets of the woodpecker ’ s ability to tolerate the high impact during the hammer. We studied the micro-structures of bones and then did a biomechanical analysis on the point.
Unusual skull bone and tongue bone structures
By comparing the skulls of woodpeckers and chickens, we discovered that woodpeckers have impact-absorbing adaptations that early birds do not have. This includes specialized skull bones, neck muscles, beaks and tongue bones.
The skull bones have a different chemical composition and concentration. For example, one structural adaptation is achieved through increasing the collection of minerals in the bones to make them stiffer and stronger compared to early birds. surpr isingly, the skull bone is very flimsy and there is less fluid that separates the brain from the skull bone than in early birds and animals. That would suggest that the skull is adapted to be harder and tougher at the same prison term. typically in the real-world materials science, there is a general tradeoff between hardness and temper. however, having both hard and tough materials on the head lessens the total of impact transferred to the brain. A moment different is that woodpeckers have less inner fluid surrounding the brain than other big animals. This helps to limit the gesture of the brain during the smack. The decreased sum of fluid has an effect that is analogous to the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, which won ’ triiodothyronine make damaged by shaking, compared to the yolk of a natural, uncooked egg. Woodpeckers besides have a cram embedded in their tongue that helps to extract insects from the trees. The unusual tongue wraps around the back of the skull and anchors at the front between the eyes. This shape lets the natural language and its bone work as a spring, dampening the physical force and refer vibrations .
Different types of bone
The stiffness and forte of a distinctive bony bone is ascribable to a dense sheath of covenant bone that encapsulated a holey, spongy cram. But the woodpecker ’ s tongue bone has the opposite social organization : a elastic sheath and a harder kernel bone. This wrong-side-out shape provides better flexibility and can absorb higher impacts and vibrations .
Our work suggests that the woodpecker ’ s unusual skull and tongue bones are an example of impact-resistant structures essential for protecting the woodpecker ’ sulfur brain during pecking behavior. presently, biologists and neuroscientists are actively working on studying the woodpecker ’ s brain to see if there is any pathological evidence of brain injuries ” like CTE in humans. We hope this research reveals whether there are other protective or healing mechanisms at meet at the tied of tissues or cells in woodpecker brains which will, we hope, reveal how to protect and heal human brain injuries.
Read more : Do Birds Like Oranges In Winter? Birds Advice
Professor Joanna McKittrick, a pioneer mastermind at the University of California San Diego and a celebrated technical in materials skill, passed away Nov. 15, 2019, shortly after completing this piece. She was 65. She was a passionate recommend for women and underrepresented students in STEM and a heedful mentor. A celebration of her biography will be held on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, beginning at 4 post meridiem at the UC San Diego Faculty Club. Joanna McKittrick, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California San Diego and Jae-Young Jung, Postdoctoral Scholar of Orthopedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco This article is republished from The Conversation under a creative Commons license. Read the original article .
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.