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The peregrine falcon's rapid dive: on the adaptedness of the arm skeleton and shoulder girdle

Schmitz, A., Ondreka, N., Poleschinski, J., Fischer, D., Schmitz, H., Klein, A., Bleckmann, H. and Bruecker, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-5834-3020 (2018). The peregrine falcon's rapid dive: on the adaptedness of the arm skeleton and shoulder girdle. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 204(8), pp. 747-759. doi: 10.1007/s00359-018-1276-y

Abstract

During a dive, peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) can reach a velocity of up to 320 km h− 1. Our computational fluid dynamics simulations show that the forces that pull on the wings of a diving peregrine can reach up to three times the falcon’s body mass at a stoop velocity of 80 m s− 1 (288 km h− 1). Since the bones of the wings and the shoulder girdle of a diving peregrine falcon experience large mechanical forces, we investigated these bones. For comparison, we also investigated the corresponding bones in European kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), sparrow hawks (Accipiter nisus) and pigeons (Columba livia domestica). The normalized bone mass of the entire arm skeleton and the shoulder girdle (coracoid, scapula, furcula) was significantly higher in F. peregrinus than in the other three species investigated. The midshaft cross section of the humerus of F. peregrinus had the highest second moment of area. The mineral densities of the humerus, radius, ulna, and sternum were highest in F. peregrinus, indicating again a larger overall stability of these bones. Furthermore, the bones of the arm and shoulder girdle were strongest in peregrine falcons.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-018-1276-y
Publisher Keywords: Bird flight, Bones, Bone mineral density, Computational fluid dynamics, Mechanical forces
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Engineering > Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20362
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