Woodpecker head-banging revealed in slow motion


A slow-motion study of woodpeckers' pecking, alongside computer simulations of the forces within their skulls, has shed light on how they avoid injury.

Their heads move at a speed of some 6m per second, at each peck enduring a deceleration more than 1,000 times the force of gravity.

But researchers reporting in Plos One say that unequal upper and lower beak lengths and spongy, plate-like bone structure protect the birds' brains.

The findings could help design more effective head protection for humans.

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