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Toucan beaks work as heat regulators




From:  _Science Illustrated_ magazine, Sept./Oct. 2010, page 20

Researchers at Brock University suggest a thermoregulatory function for the 
Toucan's over-sized beak.

"Biologist Glenn Tattersall used infrared thermal images to show that the 
Toucan's beak rapidly warms when the ambient temperature rises.  The 
uninsulated surface functions as a radiator, pulling heated blood to the 
surface of the beak and dumping excess heat into the environment.  When 
temperature falls, circulation to the beak is cut off to retain warmth.  Brock 
scientists are now investigating if temperature affects the beaks of other bird 
species during development."

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