Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Things I Learned This Semester #9

One of the coolest birds you may have never heard about, Macrocephalon maleo. Photo by Stavenn, from Wikipedia.

There is an entire clade of birds that incubates its eggs by burring them, as opposed to sitting on them and using body heat to accomplish the same goal.  The megapodes (Megapodiidae) either build mounds of rotting vegetation, or lay in holes in the ground where the eggs are heated by solar or geothermal radiation.  The chicks that hatch are superprecocial, meaning that they aren't just born with their eyes open and the ability to scamper around, but also with full wing feathers and finely tuned motor skills.  The chicks of some species, like the Maleo of Indonesia, can take up to two days to crawl out of the volcanic sand in which it is hatched, and when they reach the surface, are capable of hunting their own prey and powered flight. That's completely crazy; I love it!

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