Friday, August 7, 2009

Caspian Tern Flexible Billing

Caspian Tern, originally uploaded by Ted Ardley.

This photos shows the small amount of flexibility that is characteristic of many birds, especially the Charadriformes. The flexibility is due to a thinness at the base of the maxilla suture and probably adds to the capacity to hold and manipulate prey. This flexibility is also in part due to the quadrate bone at the base of the jaw. These characters together are among those that separate birds from their raptor-like relatives in the Dinosauria.

No comments: