12:03 01 February 2013
Research carried out into the mystery of how owls can twist their heads without harming themselves has revealed the reasons why the animal can do this.
An owl can rotate its head by up to 270 degrees, compared to a human being who can twist their head much less than this. Although this is not a full 360-degree turn, many people have often been amazed by the bird’s ability to rotate their heads.
Scientists have found that the reason why an owl can twist its head up to 270 degrees without being hurt is because they have a certain physical set-up.
This relates to blood vessels based at the bottom of an owl’s head being able to expand to help with the flow of blood.
The study also stated that an owl’s bone structure helps to keep it from harm when turning its head. This refers to the bone and vascular set-up in the bird’s neck.
Dr Philippe Gailloud, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: "Until now, brain imaging specialists like me who deal with human injuries caused by trauma to arteries in the head and neck have always been puzzled as to why rapid, twisting head movements did not leave thousands of owls lying dead on the forest floor from stroke."
If a human being was to try turning their head as far as an owl can, with our bodies being designed differently, we would cause damage to ourselves.
By trying to rotate our heads as far, we would affect the flow of blood to our heads.
Most owls are nocturnal and they tend to hunt prey such as small mammals and insects. Owls are generally found all over the world, and many people notice the bird’s wide eyes.
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