Woodpecker pecking: how woodpeckers avoid brain injury
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Woodpeckers are capable of repeated pecking on a tree at remarkably high decelerations (on the order of 10 000 m s−2 or 1000 g). In this paper, I re-examine previous studies of pecking and scaling effects in brain injury. I find that there are three keys to woodpeckers' ability to withstand high decelerations: 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; and the orientation of the brain within the skull, which increases the area of contact between the brain and the skull.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Journal of Zoology
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Gibson, L. J. “Woodpecker Pecking: How Woodpeckers Avoid Brain Injury.” Journal of Zoology 270.3 (2006): 462–465. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. © 2006 The Zoological Society of London
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