[Tweeters] gorgeous HUMMINGBIRDS research paper you may enjoy reading about

Devorah the Ornithologist birdologist at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 08:19:06 PST 2013


hi everyone,

just published a piece describing an elegant research paper that looks at
how hummingbirds can thrive in the Andes mountains:

http://gu.com/p/3kzbd/tw

i absolutely love this paper because the authors look at how a genetic
mutation results in an animo acid change in Andean hummingbirds' hemoglobin
protein that improves oxygen-binding abilities so hummingbirds can breathe
in low-oxygen environments, so of course they colonise and thrive at high
elevations (where people are left gasping for breath) in the Andes.

and all this in a tiny bird that, when it hovers, consumes 10 times more
energy gram-for-gram than does a highly trained human athlete!

and besides the genes-protein-biochemistry-behaviour-ecology connection
(which i think is just so fascinating), the authors also chatted with me
about potential environmental and conservation implications of this work in
view of global warming.

oh, and to sweeten the deal further, i've included stunning photographs of
andean hummingbird species that most people never manage to see in their
lifetimes.

have a nice weekend and may all your birds be identifiable,

--
GrrlScientist
Devorah Bennu, PhD
birdologist at gmail.com
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The most valuable service you can perform is to think independently
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