Daily Devotional – April 13
What is the secret to an owl’s ability to rotate its head 270 degrees? Why are there not thousands of dead owls on the forest floor after having experienced a stroke from rapidly twisting their heads? Sudden head movements in humans--like whiplash--can cause the fragile blood vessel lining to stretch and tear, producing clots that break off, causing a deadly stroke.
Biologists have discovered many features allowing owls to turn their heads almost completely around. First of all, owls have 14 vertebrae in their necks whereas humans only have seven. In addition:
- The blood vessels at the base of the neck get larger as they get closer to the brain. This acts as a reservoir that continues feeding the brain when the twisting neck slows the blood supply.
- The owl’s neck bones have holes 10 times the diameter of the artery traveling through it. This extra space allows for greater flexibility and movement of the artery. In humans, the holes are the size of the artery.
- The vertebral artery enters the neck higher up than in other birds, creating slack, so the artery is not twisted shut as the neck turns.
- Owls have small vessels connecting both the carotid and neck bone arteries; humans do not. During neck rotation, if one of the vessels becomes blocked, the others can still let the blood flow uninterrupted.
All these unique features had to be there from the beginning; otherwise, the forest floor would be littered with dead owls. God uniquely created owls from the very beginning.
Who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders:
~ Psalm 77:13b-14a
Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett
References for this devotional.