Researchers Study on Avian Neck Flexibility Lays Foundation for Future Evolution Work

July 24, 2017
"Gobble" by John Benson on Flickr

Birds have highly mobile necks, but the details and evolution of the complex musculoskeletal system is not well-understood. A new study in Frontiers in Zoology led by postdoc, Robert Kambic (S. Pierce Lab), and professors Stephanie Pierce and Andrew Biewener, uses biplanar X-rays on wild turkeys to evaluate the three-dimensional cervical joint range of motion in their necks to determine patterns of mobility. Previous studies on bird's highly flexible necks have mostly focused on dorsoventral flexion, but the technique used in this study provides a system that can be repeated in a broad array of comparable taxa and lays a foundation for future work on the evolution of neck mobility from non-avian dinosaurs to birds.

Image: Gobble by John Benson on Flickr