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Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Concussions?

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 Biology   |   Environmental   |   Science
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-We’d like to thank these folks-

Special thanks to Dr. Lorna Gibson of MIT for her woodpecker biomechanics expertise

Three-dimensional reconstructions based on CT data courtesy of

Pileated woodpecker slo-mo footage courtesy of Dr. Robert Shadwick/University of British Columbia

-References/Learn More-

Daneshvar, Daniel H., et al. "The epidemiology of sport-related concussion." Clinics in sports medicine 30.1 (2011): 1-17.

Gibson, L. J. "Woodpecker pecking: how woodpeckers avoid brain injury." Journal of Zoology 270.3 (2006): 462-465.

Haldane, John BS. "On being the right size." Harper’s Magazine 152 (1926): 424-427.

Maroon, Joseph C., et al. "Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in contact sports: a systematic review of all reported pathological cases." PloS one 10.2 (2015): e0117338.

May, Philip RA, et al. "Woodpecker drilling behavior: an endorsement of the rotational theory of impact brain injury." Archives of Neurology 36.6 (1979): 370-373.

Schwab, Ivan R. "Cure for a headache." British Journal of Ophthalmology86.8 (2002): 843-843.

Wang, Lizhen, et al. "Why do woodpeckers resist head impact injury: a biomechanical investigation." PloS one 6.10 (2011): e26490.

It’s Okay To Be Smart is written and hosted by Joe Hanson, Ph.D.
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