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Unread Aug 17th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why do flamingos stand on one leg?

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Why do flamingos stand on one leg? It’s a question uttered by zoo visitors and biologists alike, and now two comparative psychologists believe they have the answer.

Matthew Anderson and Sarah Williams - based at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia - exhaustively studied captive Caribbean flamingos.

“I was very surprised to discover how little systematic, hypothesis-driven empirical research had been conducted on flamingos” commented Anderson.

They began by studying laterality – or ‘handedness’ - in the birds. Whilst individual flamingos preferred to rest their heads on one side or the other, they didn’t exhibit a particular leg preference.

More work ruled out the possibilities that the birds stood on one leg to reduce fatigue or to prepare them to escape from predators.

But the researchers did notice the birds preferred to stand on only one leg in water far more than on land. “As water invariably draws away more body heat, this result supports the thermoregulation hypothesis” concluded Anderson.

If they put two legs in the water, flamingos would lose more heat than is healthy, particularly as they spend so much time wading. The birds also like to alternate which leg they stand on, to prevent one becoming too cold.
http://www.britishscienceassociation...14August09.htm
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Unread Aug 17th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's an interesting read. I never was curious about it until now.
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Unread Aug 18th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Finally, one of the worlds great mysteries has a reasonable hypothesis.
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Unread Aug 21st, 2009, 01:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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why do i?
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Unread Aug 21st, 2009, 02:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ediblesound View Post
why do i?
A hobby that turned into a trait?
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