News From the Field
MIT Solves Gravity-defying Bird Beak Mystery
May 16, 2008
As Charles Darwin showed nearly 150 years ago, bird beaks are exquisitely adapted to the birds' feeding strategy. A team of MIT mathematicians and engineers has now explained exactly how some shorebirds use their long, thin beaks to defy gravity and transport food into their mouths. The phalarope takes advantage of surface interactions between its beak and water droplets to propel bits of food from the tip of its long beak to its mouth.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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