Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Do Birds' Knees Bend Backwards?

Reading my recent Song Sparrow post, with my comment on wing bones, I am led to ask, "Why do birds' knees bend backwards?"  Trick question!  Bird knees bend the same as ours....

The leg joint of this Great Egret is actually the bird's ankle.  The foot bones are elongated and, just like with us, connect the ankle with the toes.  Above the angle run the tibia and fibula, which connect on the upper end, to the femur.  Birds' femurs (thigh bones) usually lie close to the body.  The knee is at the lower end of the femur. Check out the next turkey or chicken that you carve.

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