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33

Birds are both flying dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Yes, that's potentially confusing. To understand the apparent contradiction, you have to understand how modern classification of organisms works (phylogenetic systematics). Under the old (Linnean) classification system, Reptilia (reptiles) was an order and Aves (birds) was a separate order. Phylogenetic ...


15

In addition to kmm's excellent answer, I'd like to present the xkcd point of view.


13

Almost definitely (I'm not a regular birder) European Green Woodpecker (latin name: Picus viridis) and it is native to your area according to its species distribution map. "Green woodpeckers are the largest and most colourful woodpeckers native to Britain. They are easily recognised by their laughing ‘yaffle’ call, which they use to demarcate their ...


13

The male kakapo (Strigops habroptila) in that video is called Sirocco. Kakapo were (and still are) very close to extinction, so in the 1980s the Kakapo Recovery Programme was launched. As part of this programme, rangers monitor all known kakapo in the wild, visiting their nests and generally ensuring they are in good health. When Sirocco was a young chick, a ...


12

Flying came first, as far as we know. The earliest known bird (currently), Archaeopteryx lithographica, already had aerodynamic feathers (Feduccia and Tordoff, 1979). The Solnhofen Limestone, where it was discovered, is ~145 million years old, so we can place the "when" flight evolved to greater than or equal to that time. Gansus yumenensis is regarded as ...


12

Various features of brain,skull and beak anatomy help to achieve protection. A paper was published in PLoSOne in 2011 on this very topic: Why do woodpeckers resist head impact injury: a biomechanical investigation There is also a very readable summary on the BBC website. I advise that you read the whole article, but here is a quotation which lists the ...


12

I looked up winglets so I had context for this answer. I'm interpreting winglets as the vertical tips at the end of airplane wings. If so, then you are correct. The spread primary feathers of soaring birds like eagles function as winglets (Tucker 1993). Airbus has a biomimicry web page devoted to some of the biological designs, including winglets, they ...


11

This looks pretty much like a female zebra finch to me (the male have a more prominent feather pattern). See this picture: These birds are not native in Europe, this is correct. But it is always possible that birds escape captivity (or are released) and the live in countries where they originally not belong. I think this is the case with the zebra finch ...


10

Crows are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything they find or can kill. In this case the prey looks like a Yellow-Shafted Flicker.


10

This is a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), which is a heron in its breeding plumage. When not breeding, the bird is white. See the images for comparision: Breeding cattle egret with colored feathers. Nonbreeding cattle egret, completely white.


8

The hoatzin has a digestive system that makes use of bacterial fermentation. Many other birds also consume grass, e.g. ostriches, ducks and geese. There's also a large body of literature on how birds can digest cellulose.


8

LG stands for "linkage group". It seems the Chicken Genome Sequence group (Hillier et al., 2004) allocated several linkage groups (alleles or genes which tend to be inherited together) to the microchromosomes (tiny chromosomes typical of birds and reptiles), in this case called "linkage group E64" and "linkage group E22....". There are a load more ...


8

Definitions of adaptation Unfortunately, there is not such thing as a single, standard definition of adaptation. But for most cases the accurate definition the author is using is not of much importance as all of the usual definitions totally fit in the sentence without changing the meaning of the concept they want to express. In you case however, the ...


7

I'm not really inside the field but few weeks ago I noticed a Plos One article that was dealing with this. Indeed albatross can fly for thousands of miles and this is possible at no mechanical cost, because they use a dynamic way of flight that takes the energy from wind (dynamic soaring) (ref-1). Their muscle-skeletal system further evolved so that no ...


7

In mammals there are only two species (known, there may well be others) where males lactate. They are both species of bats and this paper discusses the evolutionary mechanisms that could underlie male lactation. I have ignored human cases because they are more of an unusual occurrence (often brought on by severe dietary stress) rather than an evolved ...


7

All animals develop in this way, whether they are oviparous (developing in an egg) or viviparous (developing inside their mother, or live-birth). From Wild Birds Unlimited: All mammals have navels or belly buttons where the umbilical cord distributes nutrients between a mother and her fetus. After birth, the umbilical cord is cut and a scar develops ...


7

There are two possibilites with evolutionary processes: The development either never went into this direction or it brought no advantages. Besides this two possibilities the claims from the other forum are wrong. Birds (not all of them though) do have winglet-like structures. If you look at big birds, you can see feathers on the end of the wings looking like ...


7

The logical assertion "winglets have not happened in a long time, therefore they are not advantageous" is incorrect. It is possible for an advantageous trait not to evolve even when advantageous, if there is no "path" to it. The trait only occurs gradually, in small incremental steps. If intermediary steps are harmful, the trait will not occur, even if the ...


6

This is a pond heron or paddy bird. The de-facto source for identifying Indian birds is Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp. The book is remarkably complete and contains the vast majority of species found in the Indian Subcontinent.


6

It's the same stuff that makes up most sea shells, calcium carbonate, $CaCO_3$. Incidentally, this explains why egg shells dissolve in vinegar (acetic acid which, since it is an acid, provides the Hydrogen ions in the reaction below): $CaCO_3+ 2H^+ -> Ca^{2+} + H_2O +CO_2$ This simple reaction (which is what would happen in your stomach as well) ...


6

This resource provides a short list of which general components of plumage are good indicators of a healthy bird. Your pet's plumage should be. . . Soft - feathers should be strong, yet flexible. Smooth - no rough feather shafts; no uneven or split edges Glossy - sheen extends over the entire coat Full - thick, where it needs to be ...


6

It looks like a passerine bird, but I can't really tell the species without seeing the whole body. As for what to do with it, your best course of action is to leave it alone. Trust me. Once placed tissue paper over a pigeon's eggs to keep them warm, and the mother crushed them when she landed on the nest because she didn't see the eggs. If there are eggs in ...


6

I'm not an expert, but I think that you have to be specific about the flying animals to which you are referring. Pterosaurs are not classed as dinosaurs, whereas modern birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs which is where feathers appeared.


6

Gibson (2006) identified three characteristics that help woodpeckers avoid brain injury: their small size, which reduces the stress on the brain for a given acceleration the short duration of the impact, which increases the tolerable acceleration the orientation of the brain within the skull, which increases the area of contact between the ...


6

There is a classification of birds called Soaring birds. Soaring Birds In definition, some land birds, such as vultures and certain hawks, sustain flight for long periods without flapping their wings. They take advantage of updrafts produced when the wind blows over hills and mountain ridges or make use of rising columns of warm air called ...


6

On a more general level it is possible for parents to influence sex-ratio of broods in a number of ways, and there are other reasons why a brood might have a sex ratio distortion. The paper I've been reading this morning is about side-blotched lizards doing just this. I'll give a quick basic answer just from the top of my head and hopefully someone can give ...


5

Hmmmm... the only one I can think of fitting at least in part your description would be the golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus). I say partly because it definitely is not 2-3 times a blackbird, could be slightly bigger, but on average it is the same size. Also it sounds extremely unlikely that you have spotted it in early March in Zurich, as they should be in ...


5

There is a very plausible explanation here. Basically, it explains that meat colour is due to the protein myoglobin (a haem-containing protein related to haemoglobin). There are two types of skeletal muscle: fast-twitch and slow-twitch (Wikipedia). Slow-twitch muscle is red muscle because it contains lots of myoglobin. Fast-twitch muscle is white muscle, ...


5

You would be amazed at the vocal abilities of the lyrebird. A car alarm is easy for them; they can mimic much more complicated sounds. Here's a snippet from a David Attenborough BBC documentary on YouTube (which includes the car alarm example, among others). They are so skilled, it's hard not to think this video is fake.


5

I bet you'll be interested about the concept monophyly. Any human-made group of species (or taxon) like birds dinosaurs, primate, bacteria, angiosperm, reptiles, … are either monophyletic, polyphyletic or paraphyletic. This picture explain the concept When the taxon is monophyletic it is called a clade. Monophyletic taxon are those groups of species that ...



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