Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Science Article Summary - 11

Science Article Summary - 11

Fastest Wings on Earth Show Extremes of Sexual Selection

[1] B. Keim, “Fastest Wings on Earth Show Extremes of Sexual Selection,” Wired Science,  Feb. 2010. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: Feb. 10, 2010].

Researches observing the club-winged manakin bird have said that they have found the world's best example of sexual selection.  Instead of dynamically adapting their wings to flight, their wings have instead been adapted to create a mating sound that attracts the opposite sex.  Found in the western Andes mountains, this bird is able to place their wings over their back in order to create a high frequency sound due to their irregularities found in their wings.  The main irregularities found in their wings is that the feathers have seven district ridges and they have a single feather with an abnormally thick tip.  In order to make the noise, the bird places its wings behind its back and shakes their wings over 107 times per second, which to put that in perspective, is more than the hummingbird.  Each shake of the feathers allows the thick feather tip to grind into the ridges of the other feather, creating the same effect as putting a spoon over wooden slats.  In order to back up the frequency of 1,500 vibrations per second, the male has been suited with relatively thick breast muscles that dampen the effect of the extreme vibrations.  Overall the study is not only to reveal the adaptations that birds take on, but it shows how the sexual selection process outweighs all other needs, creating a bird with decreased wing functions.

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