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Flying Machines

Flying Machines

Sanctuary Papers: Dose of  Natural History and Science – Let’s list the main features we usually use to identify birds – feathers, wings, hollow bones, powerful muscles, a well-developed respiratory system… to name a few.

Illustration: Vinay A. Salvi.

All of these evolutionary gifts have a dominating, remarkable purpose – to enable flight. Flying demands immense power because it involves 'defying' gravity. Over millennia, birds have therefore shed all excess weight, and even forgone organs such as sweat glands. Females have learned to live with a single ovary, and during the non-breeding seasons, their reproductive organs actually shrivel. The reproductive organs of starlings, for instance, may weigh a thousand times more during the breeding season.

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXV No. 8, August 2015.


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