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> Is there any fossil evidence to back this up? Do any long necked
>waterfowl today feed off the bottoms of ponds? Ducks seem to do just
>fine with short little necks.
In fact, the longest-necked members of the family, swans, do just that.
According to Myrfen Owen and Janet Kear in Peter Scott's "The Swans" (1972),
"Swans rely for food on aquatic vegetation, which they reach by dipping
their heads and necks or by tilting like ducks.... The neck in all species
is long, muscular and extremely mobile. The number of cervical vertebrae is
in fact greater than in any other warm-blooded animal: the Mute Swan has 25,
and the Black-necked Swan 24, whereas geese have only 18 or 19... The
possession of a long neck... enabl[es] them to feed on submerged vegetation
which lies to deep to be reached by the surface-feeding ducks... [when
dipping] it is able to lay its chin flat along the bottom, with the neck in
an S-shaped posture which few, if any, other waterfowl are able to achieve."
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