Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/1/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Green

Why are California's giant trees DYING? Scientists rush to save these wooden giants Watch

Image of Many of California's giant trees are dying off, and scientists believe climate change is the primary factor, as smaller trees more adaptable to dryer and warm climates flourish.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long home to venerable ancient Redwoods and massive pines, California may see an end to the giant trees that have been a hallmark of much of the state-especially the northern half. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Climate change may be the culprit, scientists ... continue reading


Trapped under 33 feet of ice, these miraculous creatures survive in perpetual night and freezing temperatures Watch

Image of Locked in a small pocket between 33 feet of ice and the seafloor, researchers have found a living community of fish, isolated from the surrounding ocean.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln made a miraculous discovery while drilling through a 2,430 foot thick sheet of ice in Antarctica, a fish that has been living in perpetual night underneath the ice sheet. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


One third of great apes dead due to Ebola: Deadly disease making inroads on animal kingdom Watch

Image of Disease is not the only culprit. The great apes also are decimated by illegal trading in wildlife, deforestation, wars and other infectious diseases.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The much dreaded Ebola virus continues to ravage most of West Africa, -- and is taking its toll on humankind's closest biological cousins, apes and monkeys. One-third of all primates in the wild have died from the deadly virus since the 1990s. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Dealing with climate change requires 'real leadership': Romney takes Obama to task over failed green policies Watch

Image of Mitt Romney, two time presidential hopeful and likely 2016 candidate, spoke out on the issue of climate change, in a move likely intended to bolster support from moderate Republicans and independents who feel it is a major issue that needs to be seriously addressed.

By Matt Watterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mitt Romney may not have officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, but that doesn't mean the former Massachusetts governor and two time presidential hopeful isn't already hard on the campaign trail. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Massive oil spill in the Yellowstone River leaves many enraged and without water Watch

Image of Though it's not the first oil spill in the Yellowstone River, this incident left thousands without clean water.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oil pipeline breach underneath the Yellowstone River on January 17 altered the lives of many people living near the spill. The residents of Glendive, Montana experienced great terror when oil began to erupt into the river and contaminate their water supply. LOS ... continue reading


Scientists warn of mass extinction event that may even affect humans! Watch

Image of Human pollution and exploitation fo the ocean is resulting in mass extinction for numerous marine animals.

By Matt Watterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study out of the University of California, Santa Barbara is warning that the loss of individual animal species in the world's oceans is about to "rapidly intensify" because of ongoing pollution, exploitation and destruction by humanity. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The unbelievable living fossil! Fisherman finds shocking 'monster shark' off the coast of Australia Watch

Image of According to South East Trawl Fishing Association, the frilled shark is often referred to as a

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Straight out of a horror film, a fisherman finds a monstrous sea-creature in the waters off Australia's coast. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Often referred to as a "living fossil," the sea creature is actually a type of shark. According to the South East Trawl ... continue reading


This one image may change how you think about global warming Watch

Image of Swimmers keep cool playing in an Alaskan lake amid record-breaking heatwaves in the state.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last year, 2014, has been declared the hottest year since temperature records were started in 1880. Although the net temperature increase appears small, the local impacts are significant. Record setting years are also becoming more common, suggesting that the current ... continue reading


Innovative 'canal-top' solar energy plant in western India inaugurated Watch

Image of The 10 MW plant on the outskirts of Vadodara city, which began generating power in November, is built across 3.6 km of irrigation canal, and has 33,800 solar panels mounted on steel scaffolding.

By Manipadma Jena, Thomson Reuters Foundation

As India moves to ramp up investment in solar power, it is exploring innovative places to install solar plants, including across the top of canals. VADODARA, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Last weekend, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon inaugurated a new ... continue reading


Should we be worried? NASA discovers massive asteroid headed our way! Watch

Image of A large asteroid, about a third of a mile in width, will pass close to earth, viewable with most telescopes, and powerful binoculars.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An asteroid is expected to pass by incredibly close to Earth on January 26, affording amateur astronomers a once-in-a-decade chance to see a rock about a third of a mile wide. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 2004 BL86 will pass by Earth about 745,000 miles ... 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, Hebrews 10:1-10
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11
2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:31-35
31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 27th, 2015 Image

St. Angela Merici
January 27: When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was ... 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