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October 22nd, 2017

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Weird Science

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Feb. 26, 2016

Weird Science

The most promising current concussion-prevention research comes from a study of ... woodpeckers (according to a December Business Week report). Scientists hypothesize that the birds' apparent immunity from the dangers of constant head-slamming is because their neck veins naturally compress, forcing more blood into their craniums, thus limiting the dangerous "jiggle room" in which brains bang against the skull. A team led by a real-life doctor portrayed in the movie "Concussion" is working on a neck collar to slightly pinch the human jugular vein to create a similar effect. [Business Week, 12-28-2015]

Researchers from the University of York and the University of St. Andrews wrote in the journal Biology Letters in December that they observed wild male parrots using pebbles in their mouths to help grind seashells into powder and hypothesized that the purpose was to free up the shells' calcium in "vomitable" form so that they could pass it to females before mating, to help improve their offspring's health outcomes. [Discovery News via Washington Post, 12-15-2015]

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