Cone in peregrine falcon nostril allows air to enter by disrupting airflow.
"Falcons are known for their high speed flight, and the Peregrine is thought to be the fastest bird, accurately clocked at 90 meters per second. A contender is the Prairie Falcon. Incidentally, in the making of airplanes, especially jets, humans came onto a problem. As planes got faster and faster, the engines started choking out at a certain speed. It seems that the air, instead of going into the cowl of the engine, encountered a wall of still air and engine cowl and so split and went around the engine. Puzzled, the researchers wondered how the falcons could still breathe at such incredible speeds. Looking at the falcon's nostrils, they found the answer. In the opening of the nostril is a small cone that protrudes a bit. Fashioning a similar cone in the opening of the jet engine, they discovered that the air could pass into the engine even at great speed. Once again a human invention is preceded by an animal adaptation." (Chaffee Zoo 2007)
"The air pressure from a 200 mph (320 km/h) dive could possibly damage a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles in a falcon's nostrils guide the shock waves of the air entering the nostrils (compare intake ramps and inlet cones of jet engines), enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure." (Wikipedia 2008)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
Fresno Chaffee Zoo, CA. 2007. Peregrine Falcon.
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