Hammer Time

Woodpecker study reveals the secret behind the birds' astonishingly hardy skulls

They’ve simply evolved to take frequent blows to the head.

Robert Shadwick & Erica Ortlieb (University of British Columbia)


Cars and bike helmets are designed to crumple during crashes.

Without these shock-absorbing properties, our bodies would be crushed on impact.

But woodpeckers, on the other hand, effortlessly withstand repeated impacts without bashing their skulls.

One prevailing explanation is that their skulls absorb shock, like a helmet, to help the birds avoid concussions and other injuries.

Hal Beral/Corbis/Getty Images