Curiosities: Why don’t woodpeckers get hurt when they peck on wood?

By Eddy Montilla.


Last Friday, I saw a Japanese office worker, “a little bit drunk”, hitting softly a lamp post with his fists first, and with his head later. “I think I have discovered a new and rare species of woodpeckers.” I said. And the question about why these birds don’t get hurt when they peck came to my mind at once. And this is the answer:

     If you are going to move and you don’t wrap some protective material around your glasses and put something between them, I am sure that you will enjoy your new house, but you will miss your glasses because they will be broken! They more space there is between the skull and the brain, the more the brain gets hurt after a blow. Compared to humans, in the case of woodpeckers, the space between their brains and skulls is minimal. Besides, these birds have special bones in their skulls that act like plates and have an absorbent structure and capacity, which help avoid concussions. Woodpeckers’ upper beak and lower beak are asymmetric. This unevenness seems to play an important role to protect theses birds’ brain by absorbing the impact of the blows when they peck. Finally, next time you have problems at work, at home, etc., remember that woodpeckers are well prepared to do that, but your head is not. So do not hit your head with your palm, fist or any other thing. Be smarter than the woodpeckers and try to solve your problems instead.

Copyright 2016 All rights are reserved.

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