Wild Things: Killer Whales, Spiders and Woodpeckers

Yellow saddle goatfish, mastodon ribs and more in this month’s summary of wildlife news

(Franco Banfi / Oceans-Image / Photoshot)

Pecking Mystery Solved

(Imagebroker.net / Photoshot)
How can a woodpecker repeatedly bang its head into a tree at 15 miles per hour without harming itself? Researchers from Beihang University in Beijing and elsewhere, using high-speed video, microscopic scanning and 3-D models, found that spongy spots in the skull, along with tissues of different sizes in the upper and lower beak, are crucial for absorbing shock. The work might be useful for designing helmets and other safety gear.

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