Monday, March 11, 2013

Owls Turn Heads

Indiana Public Media
As you probably aware, owls can turn their heads an incredible 270 degrees.  That is the equivalent of turning your head to the right until you are looking over your left shoulder.  This is a feat unrivaled since Linda Blair did her head spinning in The Exorcist, and no, I am not going to give you a video link to that- I am still getting over it 40 years later.

So how does the owl do it?  It is all in the neck with twice as many vertebrae as you and I have.  Owls also have special adaptations of their vascular system.  Aside from my mother and my 5th grade teacher who had "eyes in the back of the head", this is one of the most amazing tricks in nature.

Check out this Science Friday video.