The woodpecker strikes with its beak without damaging its brain

The woodpecker is a fascinating bird that taps on trees with its beak. However, he does not suffer brain damage thanks to some special adaptations that protect him. Its ability to drill wood without injury has intrigued scientists and observers for decades.

Woodpecker with chicks

The woodpecker hammers the trees with its beak

When hitting a tree, the woodpecker’s head reaches a speed of six meters per second. The deceleration they experience is a thousand times greater than the force of gravity. Even so, they do not suffer any type of injury when doing so.

Scientists wonder how they manage to avoid brain damage and concussions when making these impacts. However, your body has notable adaptations that prevent possible damage to the brain.

Special characteristics of this small bird

There are about 200 species of woodpeckers in the world. These species are distributed in various forest habitats throughout the planet, with a variety of sizes, colors and behaviors. At the same time, all varieties have in common that they have special adaptations that allow them to absorb the blows they make with their beak without suffering injuries.

  • The skull is robust and absorbs impact.
  • Unlike other birds, the woodpecker’s beak, which is very hard and elastic, is not directly attached to the skull. Between the two, there is a spongy layer that acts as a cushion. This intermediate structure absorbs shock, protecting the skull from repetitive impact.
  • The muscles in the neck are strong and help control the force of impact.
  • The feathers around the neck also distribute energy evenly.
  • Its brain is small and compact. It is firmly encapsulated, reducing the risk of concussion. In addition, the amount of fluid between the skull and the brain is minimal, which prevents vibrations.
  • They have a long, flexible tongue that wraps around the skull. Acts as a natural safety belt during impacts. It is attached to a structure called a hyloid layer, which evenly distributes the load of each blow, reducing the effect of vibration.

Because of these characteristics, woodpeckers can drill trees without damaging their brain, a wonder of nature.

Woodpecker hitting a tree

The woodpecker is an example of biomimesis

Thanks to the detailed study of the woodpecker’s head, scientists designed an impact cushioning system. This system can protect microdevices up to 60,000 g. In the future, it could improve the survivability of black boxes in plane crashes.

Meanwhile, woodpecker adaptations have already inspired new helmet designs. These helmets protect cyclists, football players and mountain climbers, reducing the risk of injury.

This is another example of biomimesis. Biomimicry, also known as biomimicry, is the scientific and engineering discipline that seeks to imitate solutions and strategies from nature to solve human problems.

This area of ​​study is based on the observation and understanding of biological processes, structures and materials to apply them in the design and development of new sustainable technologies, products and systems. Nature remains an invaluable source of inspiration for technological innovations.

Click to rate this entry!
(Votes: 0 Average: 0)

Leave a Comment