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Birds, also known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton.

Modern birds might have dinosaur lungs to thank for their existence

bird flying

Birds: They’re just like us. Except their lungs are small in comparison to their body size (much smaller than ours, by this metric) and they have a set of air sacs, nine in total, that run down the sides of their bodies.

A newly described fossil found in China shows that birds evolved one of these notable features very, very early–while they were still dinosaurs, in fact. A team of researchers from China and South Africa just published a study detailing the presence of what they believe to be lung tissue in the fossil. This is the first time evidence of lungs has been found in an avian dinosaur fossil, and it may help explain why one group of avian dinosaurs—the Ornithumorpha, of which this fossil was a member—was able to survive the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs and continue to evolve into modern birds.

The finding “just reinforces the idea that this group was more highly evolved than other Cretaceous avian lineages,” writes paleontologist Jingmai O’Connor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in an email to Popular Science. O’Connor and her team observed a “speckled white material” in the fossil, according to the paper, and by employing scanning electron microscopy (a specialized type of microscope), were able to study both the material and its location within the skeleton. They believe it’s evidence of lungs, part of the morphological sophistication that may have allowed one lineage of Ornithumorphs to survive the great extinction and evolve into birds.

Modern birds have “structurally the most complex, and functionally the most efficient” respiratory system among vertebrates, according to the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists. The system of lungs and air sacsmeans that birds are able to take in much more fresh, oxygenated air with each breath than we mammals can, since even a full breath in our lungs has “old” air that’s depleted of oxygen within it. Imagine birds as really good athletes with great lung capacity–which they are, since flying everywhere takes tons of energy and requires a high metabolism.

But back in the Cretaceous Period, the last one in the age of dinosaurs, there were lots of other kinds of avian dinosaurs. When the Archaeorhynchus spathula specimen documented in the new paper was alive in the Lower Cretaceous Period, it might have shared the skies over the fossil-rich Jiufotang Formation with whole groups of avian dinosaurs who didn’t make it, says Matthew Lamanna, assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Mellon.

birds fossils

A newly identified Archaeorhynchusspecimen showing the preserved plumage and lung tissue.

J. Zhang (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing)

What precisely set the Ornithumorphs apart remains a mystery, says Lamanna, who was not involved in the current study. “Why that particular group survived is a very, very interesting question,” he says, “and one we don’t have a good answer for at this point.”

This new find suggests that maybe vascular efficiency is part of the answer. When he heard about the discovery, Lamanna says, “I was basically like, holy shit, fossilized lungs in a bird from 120 million years ago. That’s really, really cool.” The process of fossilization usually destroys soft tissue—but not always, and maybe not even quite as often as previously thought, he says. It may even be the case that some of the fossils currently held in museum and research collections have evidence of preserved soft tissue that could help explain how the dinosaurs lived in a way that bones cannot, he says. He believes this new paper, which was presented yesterday at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting, might help push curators to return to their existing collection with new questions.

“The way soft tissue preservation is changing the field of paleontology is really important,” says O’Connor. “It is revolutionizing how we interpret skeletal remains.” What paleontologists think based on just the skeleton is “more often than not wrong” when it comes to reconstructing organ systems, she says.

In the absence of soft tissue evidence, paleontologists have traditionally made guesses about organs based on fossilized bones and the dinosaurs’ closest modern descendants, the crocodilians and the birds. But there might be more soft tissue out there than the field currently knows—not just in new finds like this one from China. Occasionally, Lamanna says, paleontologists take a new look at old evidence and discover “that these structures were there all along.”

“If we are not looking, we most likely will not see it,” writes O’Connor. She also thinks that if paleontologists look closer, there is more soft tissue evidence to be found than previously believed.



birds loveThe parakeets are some nice birds can become the perfect pet for a family. Like most birds, parakeets have nice colors in their feathers. The most common colors are green, blue and yellow. Are relatively small in size but they make up for his incredible personality that can entertain for hours to those who choose to observe.

These birds are known for their docile nature and how playful they are. Are not usually destructive and highlights their ability to get to learn some words. Before you bring a parrot home, it is important to consider what you’re buying cage. This should provide adequate space for their movements and should be easy to clean and maintain.

The parrot cage should allow you to open your wings with ease and should have some bars for which he can move and play. The cage must have a door through which you can put your hand (and part of the arm) to take him peacefully. Most bird cages include a feeder, a drinker and a toy that allows the bird to have fun. If the cage you choose does not have any of these accessories is essential that you buy.

Review how is the base of the cage so it can not damage or paws or nails of your pet. It is best that you check that the bottom is removable for easier cleaning time. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate cage, you can purchase your pet and take it home. Remember that the first few days, both you’ll have to get used to your routines. Avoid making too much noise so as not to stress out.



Birds Life The most common diseases in parrotsHere is a brief list on which are the most common diseases in parrots. It is important that if these animals have a home and know well what they are, and why they can produce or how you can prevent them.

Salmonellosis: poultry disease that causes diarrhea. The causes can be food or water that are contaminated. To prevent just have to clean up the foods you’re going to give your pet.

Coccidiosis: this other disease involving inflammation of the intestine. Usually produce some parasites that also cause diarrhea in parrots, and a huge weight loss. Clean the cage is the best way to prevent it.

External parasites, thrips and mites: the best way to treat it is to clean the bird cage and bathing. If this does not work will have to use a special spray for deworming.

Colibacillosis: this is an infectious disease that has become the leading cause of death in many individuals of this species. The major symptoms are fatigue on one side and another loss of appetite. If the animal becomes sick need special treatment with streptomycin.

Pneumonia: is produced by air currents. Its symptoms range from runny nose and rheumy eyes, even difficulty breathing. Treatment consists principally of applying heat to the animal (the most effective are infrared lamps.)

French move anomalous Muda: The first of these conditions will occur or by some errors in your diet or by a feeling of loneliness of the animal. In the latter case the animal pens will start if he stays long periods of time only. The second of the disease affects only her tail feathers and wings, so that may incapacitate bird when flying.



Birds Life Meet the EmusThe Dromaius novaehollandiae, popularly known as the emu is the largest bird in the world after the ostrich. Their place of habitual residence is the Australian continent and is the largest bird to be found throughout the area. These birds are commonly found throughout Australia, but tend to avoid areas that are densely populated. The average height of an emu is about 2 meters.

Like ostriches, birds can not fly (due to their immense body weight), but they make moving very fast. Emus can reach a top speed of 50 km per hour if necessary and can maintain this speed over a long period of time. They are very nomadic in nature, and feed mainly on different varieties of insects and plants.

During the past 20 years, many U.S. farmers have begun raising the animals on a large scale. As a result, their popularity as pets has grown. Her exotic looks and gentle character, makes it become the perfect pet for many. Although many insist on having them as pets, it should be noted that these animals need lots of space and its maintenance is not an easy task.

When the emu is small, it can seem much more beautiful and sweet but when it starts to grow to live with him can be very difficult. They also have very sharp claws that can be used as weapons if threatened. On the other hand, know what to feed them insects, worms and other invertebrates, seeds and nuts, flowers, leaves and other parts of plants, lizards and other small animals, etc.



Birds LIfe The swallow birdThe swallow is a bird that can be found almost anywhere in the world. There are many varieties of swallows, and have interesting nesting and feeding habits. Its silhouette is unmistakable sharp, with their wings at an angle and the fork of its tail. Most impressive is the way they fly, because it seems to be hitting everything around and just as key, dodge everything.

According to some experts, there seventy-five types of swallows around the world. Eight of the seventy-five species found in Canada and the United States. One of the most common speciesare Purple. Usually measure between 7.5 to 8 inches long. It has a forked tail and bright plumage is blue-black and the bottom is usually more clear.

The swallows are beneficial birds consume large quantities of insects that is often referred to as an insectivorous bird. Different species of swallows prefer different types of insects. For example, the purple love dragonflies, moths and butterflies. Also, other flies love. In addition to insects, they can also eat seeds.

Surprisingly, the swallows return to nest year after year. The young, when they get older, they also tend to nest near where his parents live. They can build nests that last for years and years. The old nests but in good condition with no tenants, may be occupied by new partners. They usually have the same partner throughout their lives.


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