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Birds reduce their heating bills in cold climates
Date:6/23/2010

>Although it's possible that large bills have evolved to help shed heat loads and prevent overheating in hot climates, we think it's more likely that cold temperatures impose a constraint on the size of bird beaks," Dr Tattersall says.

"It simply might be too much of a liability to carry around a big radiator of heat energy in a cold environment."

The research validates a 133-year-old ecological theory called Allen's rule, which predicts that animal appendages like limbs, ears, and tails are smaller in cold climates in order to minimize heat loss.

Dr Symonds says Allen's rule has never been tested with this large a group of animals and was more anecdotal.

"This is the first rigorous study of its kind to test this theory and to show that bird bills have evolved in this manner."


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Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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Birds reduce their heating bills in cold climates
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