Often symbolizing wisdom, intelligence and also mystery, owls room stoic creatures of the night. Lock soar v the sky, swiftly capture prey, and also perch high in the trees. Owls can even rotate their heads almost 270 degrees! Why? Today, we answer that concern with help from nationwide Geographic and ScienceDaily.

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Keep your head still and look forward. Together a human, you room able to view what is straight in former of you and some that what is come the left and to the best of you. This is dubbed your peripheral vision. Without moving your head, your eyes have the right to follow objects up, down and also side-to-side.

Owls can’t carry out this. Since they have actually fixed eye sockets, castle must move their top in order to see their surroundings. A wide selection of movement is an essential for survival together it help them prevent predators and detect prey.

But, exactly how do they carry out it?

In 2013, researchers from Johns Hopkins unveiled this mystery. They want to know why sudden activities to a human’s head and also neck have the right to be life threatening yet not because that an owl. They discovered four biological differences in between a human’s and also an owl’s anatomy that provide the bird uninterrupted blood flow and also greater arterial flexibility.

“The an initial anatomical variation they found was in the owl neck, where one of the major arteries feeding the brain passes with bony holes in the vertebrae,” follow to ScienceDaily. “The hollow cavities were roughly 10 times larger in diameter than the vertebral artery traveling with it. The researcher say the extra room … creates a set of cushioning waiting pockets that enable the artery to move around when twisted.”

The researchers likewise noticed the the vertebral artery enters the neck at the owl"s 12th cervical vertebrae, quite than the 14th like other birds. This allows for also for an ext vessel room and slack.

Unlike a human whose arteries often tend to gain smaller and also smaller as they branch out, the owl’s blood ship at the base of the head get larger and also larger so that blood reservoirs form. This permits the owl come “meet the energy needs that their big brains and eyes, while they rotate their heads.”

And also if one blood ship is blocked during rotation, blood is still able to circulation to the mind due come the connection between the carotid and also vertebral arteries.

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So even though owls perform not have actually peripheral vision, castle able come safely scan an area by rotating your head and not interrupt blood circulation to their brain—an important feature because that the prize of wisdom.

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