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Off the Leash Off the Leash

Researcher uncover secret of owls' neck twist

Backup arterties help the birds rotate their heads up to 270 degrees.

By Vetstreet Feb 7, 2013 5:14PM

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated how owls can turn their heads up to 270 degrees without injuring themselves. They found that owls have backup arteries that provide more nutrients when their blood vessels get strained by rapid turning.

Photo: How do owls twist their heads / Karl Lehmann/Getty ImagesScientists already knew that the birds only had one socket pivot, which allows them to twist more than humans, who have two.

But the new study revealed that the arteries also collect any excess blood that’s created by the extreme turning.

Bing: See owls up close

The team’s research was summarized on the U.S. National Science Foundation website.

— Read it at National Geographic

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Photo: Karl Lehmann/Getty Images

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