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Re: DINOSAUR digest 1158

Well, if you look at footage of running Struthio specimens (you know: ostrich
;-)) it always strikes me that almost everything moves except the head. Well, it
moves of course, but only in the direction the animal is running, not up and
down and I probably suspect (but that's more difficult to actually see since
these shots are almost always en profile) not left to right either.

Jarno Peschier

Betty Cunningham <bettyc@flyinggoat.com> on 10/05/99 06:43:39 PM

Please respond to bettyc@flyinggoat.com

To:   cockatoo@csi.com
cc:   dinosaur@usc.edu (bcc: Jarno Peschier/Saybolt/NL)

Subject:  Re: DINOSAUR digest 1158

Birds in flight are the inventors of the steadycam-you kidding?

Hunting hawks (and owls) will 'lock' their vision on a target, rotating
their entire bodies around in a 360 circle (the pivot would be the head)
if necessary- but the head stays in the original orientation that
focused on the target, until the actual strike.

Hummingbirds bob practically everything else, but the head remains
steady when it feeds on nectar.  My guesses are that the extremely tiny
scale of the humminbird and what it's feeding on require stability to
keep parts nearly motionless when feeding -and- extreme fragility of the
hummingbird would require this steadycam ability so that the flower
(often larger than the bird) wouldn't bash the poor bird out of
commision should a sudden wind come up.

If bobbing the head was integral to seeing during flight, these would
not happen.

-Betty Cunningham

Martin Human wrote:
> What happens when birds fly? Looking at the birds around me and the
> excellent close-ups on Attneborough's Life of Birds they appear to hold
> their heads staic (or at least they don't bob).

Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)