Sunday, May 16, 2010
Meet the Toco Toucan
Looks can be deceiving though; the beak is actually quite light. Its interior is something like a honeycomb crafted from keratin (the material that also makes up human fingernails), but even so it is nothing short of incredible that the toucan's skull can support such a huge seven and a half inch construction.
Of course, there are some trade-offs to this lifestyle. Flying well is one. That doesn't seem to bother them much though. They simply hop through the tree tops. Escaping predators would seem like a huge downside here, but in fact flocks of toucans employ a little known rule of the jungle: the most ridiculous-looking animals get the last laugh. And in fact Tocos do, often surrounding birds of prey and jeering loudly at them until they become annoyed enough to leave the area. After all, they have the bigger beak.
Thanks to Bone Clones for the photo of the Toco skull!