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Woodpeckers' heads act more like stiff hammers than safety helmets


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Scientists had long wondered how woodpeckers can repeatedly pound their beaks against tree trunks without doing damage to their brains. This led to the notion that their skulls must act like shock-absorbing helmets. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on July 14 have refuted this notion, saying that their heads act more like stiff hammers. In fact, their calculations show that any shock absorbance would hinder the woodpeckers' pecking abilities.

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