Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bone structures, unique vascular properties prevent birds from cutting off blood supplies

One of the wonders of nature was how the common owl could turn its head at a 270 degree angle, somewhat akin to the possessed Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" who could swivel her head around in a 360 degree angle. Common sense dictated that these fine feathered friends would cut off their blood circulation, causing them to lose consciousness and eventually die. Scientists have finally discovered how the owls do it, solving one of the great mysteries of natural science.

This trait allows the owls to have a huge range of vision without having to move their bodies or arouse detection by prey.

This trait allows the owls to have a huge range of vision without having to move their bodies or arouse detection by prey.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Owls, head swiveling, blood vessels, bone construction, neck injuries


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have discovered four major adaptations in owls designed to prevent injury. The birds' unique bone structures and vascular systems let them move their heads with increased flexibility.

Studying snowy, barred and great horned owls, researchers at Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine examined the birds after they died from natural causes.

Researchers found a vertebral artery enters the neck higher than in other birds, creating more slack. Unlike humans, owls were found to have small vessel connections between the carotid and vertebral arteries, allowing blood to be exchanged between the two blood vessels, creating an uninterrupted blood flow to the brain, even if one route is blocked during extreme neck rotation.

This trait allows the owls to have a huge range of vision without having to move their bodies or arouse detection by prey.

Scientists concluded that the lack of similar adaptations in humans could explain why humans are more vulnerable to neck injury.

"Until now, brain imaging specialists like me who deal with human injuries caused by trauma to arteries in the head and neck have always been puzzled as to why rapid, twisting head movements did not leave thousands of owls lying dead on the forest floor from stroke," Study senior investigator Doctor Philippe Gailloud said.

"The carotid and vertebral arteries in the neck of most animals - including owls and humans - are very fragile and highly susceptible to even minor tears of the vessel lining."

Researchers studied the bone and blood vessel structures in the heads and necks of the birds.

Using an injected contrast dye, researchers highlighted the birds' blood vessels, which were then dissected, drawn and scanned to allow detailed analysis.

The most striking finding came after researchers injected dye into the owls' arteries, mimicking blood flow, and manually turned the animals' heads. Blood vessels at the base of the head, just under the jaw bone, kept getting larger and larger. As more of the dye entered, and before the fluid pooled in reservoirs.

This contrasted starkly with human anatomical ability, where arteries generally tend to get smaller and smaller, and do not balloon as they branch out.

These contractile blood reservoirs act as a trade-off, allowing owls to pool blood to meet the energy needs of their large brains and eyes, while they rotate their heads.

The supporting vascular network, with its many interconnections and adaptations, helps minimize any interruption in blood flow.

"Our new study results show precisely what morphological adaptations are needed to handle such head gyrations and why humans are so vulnerable to osteopathic injury from chiropractic therapy," Gailloud said.

"Extreme manipulations of the human head are really dangerous because we lack so many of the vessel-protecting features seen in owls."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Green

Ancient salamander, thought to have roamed Earth 170 million years ago found by Chinese ranger Watch

Image of After keeping it in a temporary tank, Xiao released the creature back into the river, watched by a crowd of tourists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A park ranger in south China named only as "Mr. Xiao" has caught an enormous Chinese salamander. It is acknowledged as the world's largest living amphibian and is known as the "Living Fossil," as it has remained unchanged for 170 million years. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scientists discover annoying foam packing peanuts can now be used for something other than trash Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Foam peanuts that constantly clutter your room and fill up the trash, after a package arrives, could actually be useful. This new discovery, presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), was researched by a team from ... continue reading


Giant crocodile ruled the Earth long before dinosaurs Watch

Image of Carnufex, meaning

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A nine-foot-tall monster with blade-like teeth at one time strolled through the warm and wet environs of what is now known as North Carolina some 230 million years ago. The Carnufex carolinensis, as known by its scientific name, was active long before dinosaurs ... continue reading


Rapidly thinning Antarctic glacier 'appears unstoppable' Watch

Image of The Totten Glacier is larger and thinning faster than all the others in East Antarctica are.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Everyone is now aware about the rapidly melting polar icecaps. Scientists have raised concerns about a large, rapidly thinning glacier in Antarctica. Researchers have discovered two openings that could channel warm seawater to the base of the huge Totten ... continue reading


EXTREMELY SEVERE DROUGHT: California is not only up a creek without a paddle - it's loosing the creek as well Watch

Image of California has been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the East Coast was battered with rain, sleet and record snowfall, California faced the driest January on record, ever since records began to be taken in 1865. With snow packs in the mountains at all time lows, the state's drought has many people wonder if ... continue reading


SEA MONSTER: Massive 14-foot stingray declared world's largest caught fish Watch

Image of After getting the ray alongside, it was then taken into a specially prepared pen. It took seven people to lift the ray out of the water so it could be properly measured.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive, 14-feet stingray recently caught by two anglers has since broken the world's record for the largest freshwater fish caught by rod and line. The gigantic, flat fish bearing a poisonous barb measured over eight feet in width, 14 feet in length and ... continue reading


AMAZING DIVERSITY: 1,451 new marine species identified in our oceans in a single year Watch

Image of Biologists also identified two new species of dolphin last year. One was found near Papua New Guinea and the other in a Brazilian river. Sadly, both are already threatened by anglers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is nothing new under the sun... or is it? The finite capabilities of man would deduce that after centuries of science and exploration, humankind would know everything there is to know about the various life forms on this planet. Scientists have proven ... continue reading


Rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washes up on South Carolina beach Watch

Image of Treatments appear to be helping. Aquarium officials said the turtle was more energetic earlier this week than when it was first admitted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washed up on a South Carolina beach this past weekend. Marine biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium are currently treating the turtle who they named "Yawkey." Discovered on the Yawkey-South Island Preserve, a ... continue reading


BUSTED! A-list Climate Change deniers go nuts in emails over documentary that exposes ties to fossil fuel industry Watch

Image of Despite the obvious signs, a number of scientists continue to insist that global warming isn't happening.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

An A list of "climate change deniers" has been released, exposing the connections that climate change denial scientists have to the fossil fuel industry and other private firms that are literally paying them for their denial. The leaked emails stem from a documentary ... continue reading


Extinct bird remarkably reappears after 70 years gone Watch

Image of The team observed several babblers at different locations in the area for two days, according to an official release.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A small brown bird, the Jerdon's babbler was last seen in Myanmar in 1941. Presumed extinct, the babbler has made an unexpected comeback. Naturalists are boy busy resurrecting the bird from the list of animals thought to have vanished from the Earth. LOS ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 17:3-9
3 And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his ... Read More

Gospel, John 8:51-59
51 In all truth I tell you, whoever keeps my word ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 26th, 2015 Image

St. Margaret Clitherow
March 26: St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter