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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I watched a show on cable TV (forget which channel) last night. It was about "superhumans". Human beings who had abilities or "powers" that were out of the normal human experience and ability. One of them was a blind man, who had been born without eyes. He has never seen anything in his life. Not even just light. Yet, he is a great painter and artist.

But, I digress.

Another of these so-called superhumans has the ability to raise his body temperature to combat the effects of cold weather. Scientists dipped him in 36 degree water for 17 minutes, with electrodes attached to read his vital signs, and he barely shivered. A normal person would pass out in four minutes or so. He looked like he could stay there for hours.

He also ran a half marathon, which took over two hours to accomplish. But the amazing thing is that he did so barefoot. Wearing nothing but shorts. No other clothing. He did this in -15 (minus 15 degrees) weather. At the end of the run, a doctor checked him and determined that he was going to lose the toes on his left foot because they had turned white and hard. The doctor theorized the those toes had not had any blood circulation for at least the last 45 minutes of his run. The doctor said thse toes would have to be amputated. The man declined to have that done and he was somehow able to regenerate or reinvigorate those toes and did not lose them. This man said his next goal is to climb Mt. Everest, barefoot and with no clothing except shorts for modesty. For some unknown reason, this person is able to raise or maintain his body temperature even in extremely cold weather, without any protection fo shelter or clothing.

I mention this because all of my life, I have marveled how birds are able to stand extremely cold weather with their feet. Sure, feathers and fur are great for protection against the elements. But the feet of birds is rarely protected with either.

Today it was 15 degrees here and I put out water for my birds and they immediately started taking baths in it. FIFTEEN DEGREES!

Yet when I was out in this same weather, everytime I touched metal, my fingers stuck to it. Dog cages. Fences. Anything metal that was not painted.

How come the birds feet are able to take such weather and not freeze like my feet would? Does the man from the TV show above, have "something" in him that maybe birds and other animals have? That enable them to raise their body temperatures in their feet? Because if they do not, then taking a bath in 15 degree weather should cause my birds feet to freeze. But they didn't. I could dip my feet in water on a day like this, but I would have to immediately dry them off and get them warm, or I would suffer tremendously. But the birds just walk around in the snow as if nothing is bothering them. After standing in water for awhile. Amazing.
 

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I believe birds have a special circulatory system to keep their legs and feet from freezing and to adapt.
And if you think about it - humans have a small torso compared to their long legs, whereas birds have very short legs when compared to their body (except in the crane family - heron, flamingo's).
I never new this until I had one as a pet for 12 years - but Robins have very hard scales on their legs. Its not a soft leathery feeling like on pigeon legs.
I think its the circulatory system and NOT the outer surface on the legs and feet that protects them. If it was the leathery skin, then why can't alligators or iguana's survive up here in the cold climate.
I mean, after all - birds were reptiles at one time :confused:
 

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But my guess is that we were once all cold blooded animals, if that's the thing. If I recall correctly, ancient animals (before dinosaurs) were cold blooded.
I don't recall any particular circulation mechanism in birds, but it may be that.

There was a blind photographer, too. Had lost both eyes. He only took photographs of what he could touch. I forgot his name though. He "drew" swallows on his photographs with light.
 

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I am not sure birds were once reptiles, they are related to dinosaurs and it is believed that dinosaurs were also warm blooded. Yes that bundle of feathers you look at every day is a morden day dinosaur.
I guess one of the theories is that birds evolved from reptilian dinosaurs.
Research on chicken fossils show that they originally had a tail. Now they only have about 2 or 3 vertebrae of that tail left. Apparently evolution decided chickens have no use for a tail. And snakes have toenails where legs were thought to exist at one time.
I'm no expert - just love Discovery Chanel and National Geographic Chanel. :)
 

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Personally, in my humble opinion, I believe "nothing is impossible...just (currently) unknown!"

I believe that we have abilities we don't even know we have. Some people are able to "tap" into these abilities. Mostly, we just don't know "how."

From what little I have read, the " Real People" (Aboriginals), of Australia, have some extraordinary abilities.

Others can do and perform feats that seem "magical" to us.

My T'ai Chi Instructor, is able to do some amazing things that leave us with our mouths open! He says we can do the same...but we need to "PRACTICE." AND, he's 83 years old!!

Perhaps if mankind can stop fighting each other, we would be able to concentrate on improving OURselves...

Love and Hugs

Shi :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"Perhaps if mankind can stop fighting each other"

Yea, good luck with that.

Maybe the lion and lamb can lie down, side by side, for a little while. But in the end, lions ain't gonna eat grass.

I wish your desires about such things could come true. But they won't. When they say it is a dog eat dog world, what they really mean is that it is a lion eats sheep world, and it aint gonna change. Ever. Well.....until there are no lions or no sheep. Sad but true.
 

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Speaking of feet and cold adaptations, here are interesting things to know.

For penguins they have this adaptation:
"The solution is really quite elegant. The muscles that operate feet and flippers are not located in the feet and flippers, but deeper in the warmer regions of the penguins body. The feet and flippers are moved by tendons that pass through them and attach to toes etc. like a sort of remote operation by wire or string. This means that it doesn't matter if the feet and flippers get really cold as they can still be operated normally by regions that are fully functional and at normal body temperature.

Penguins have a heat-exchange blood-flow to these regions. The warm blood entering the feet or flippers flows past cold blood leaving so warming it up in the process and cooling the blood entering at the same time. Blood in these parts is significantly colder than in the rest of the body. By the time the blood re-enters the rest of the body it has been warmed up and so doesn't have so great an effect on the core body temperature. "

http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica fact file/science/cold_penguins.htm

Other adaptations for birds include the following:
"Unlike our feet, birds’ feet are little more than bone, sinew, and scale, with very few nerves. But it takes more than a lack of nerves to keep their feet from freezing off. A miraculous adaptation called rete mirabile is responsible. This fine netlike pattern of arteries carrying warm blood from the bird’s heart is interwoven with the veins carrying cold blood from the feet and legs. This interweaving warms the cold blood in these veins even before it reaches the bird’s heart. This system keeps the bird’s legs and feet warm, even without leggings and slippers.

[More song of songbird]

And those little songbirds’ feet?—don’t worry. Birds’ feet lack sweat glands and stay dry. Therefore, there is no danger of them freezing to metal perches. "
http://www.prx.org/pieces/43832/transcripts/109662

And why our pigeons sometimes stand on one leg:
"Keep your cold feet to yourself! When it's cold, birds frequently perch with one foot tucked in their belly feathers. (Not only does this keep that foot warm, but it means that much less exposed to the cold.)" http://www.slywy.com/writings/chilling.html

Some birds have the ability to constrict blood flow:
"Legs and Feet: Birds’ legs and feet are covered with specialized scales that minimize heat loss. Birds can also control the temperature of their legs and feet separately from their bodies by constricting blood flow to their extremities, thereby reducing heat loss even further." http://birding.about.com/od/birdingbasics/a/howbirdskeepwarm.htm

And how do they do that?
"The second-tiniest vessels that circulate blood in a bird's foot are the "arterioles". In these microscopic tubules, at the point where capillaries (the smallest of blood vessels) branch off, there are tiny, encircling muscle fibers that operate as valves called "precapillary sphincters". These microscopic devices control the flow of blood into the capillaries. When the bird's feet begin


to cool, the valves (which normally allow warm blood to go to the inner parts of the body) close, forcing the body's hottest blood toward the feet where the precapillary sphincters are kept wide open until the food temperature is high enough."
http://danversoracle.media.mit.edu:...65303037576562506167653030326964303033383935]

So birds have adaptation which I guess has something to do with evolution and mutations.
 
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