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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Evolution gave birds the perfect “rules of the road”

Australian ornithologists, representing the University of Queensland, found that to avoid collision with each other in the air-the birds help a kind of “traffic rules” resulting from millions of years of evolution. Some of these rules are simple, the others remain a mystery, but they are strictly observed by every feathered, the researchers note.

photo: pixabay.com

It has been noticed the fact that birds don’t collide in the air, even if flying around a lot of their fellows or there are other obstacles, has interested scientists for a long time, however, as the authors of the new work, nobody has tried to devote a full study.

The researchers simultaneously released two budgies in a relatively narrow tunnel so that they were flying through it towards each other. Flying birds were recorded on video using high speed camera. The experiment was repeated with ten different birds over a hundred times, and during this time, budgerigars do not face each other even once.

The first thing that drew the attention of scientists — both approaching each other birds were deviated to the right to avoid a collision. This behavior seems pretty logical — honed by evolution, the habit of “keep to the right” in an obvious way that helps the birds, and if they chose the rotation direction “at random”, this would greatly reduce their chances to miss.

More interesting, the experts have considered the fact that most birds flew at different heights, and it also helped them not to crash into each other. So far, scientists cannot say with certainty, what principles birds regulate their height, but they have a suspicion that this is also hidden a certain system — perhaps even a kind of hierarchy.

The researchers hope that in the future these data will allow to create more sophisticated algorithms for navigation of drones.


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