The Mystery of the Hummingbird

Suicufnoc

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Aside from the Cheetah thread, Are Cheetahs the result of ancient genetic engineering?, this forum is lacking in the nature department.
So, I bring to you all the mystery of the Hummingbird.

The Hummingbird has an interesting history. Having probable origins as suggested by the finding of Eurotrochilus in the Eastern Hemisphere; all extant Hummingbirds can only be found in the West today. The factors that make this small bird so unusual are plenty. Most notably the high frequency 500 wing flaps per second they accomplish in order to achieve their famous hover, which makes them appear to break the laws of physics. How is it possible that these creatures are so different from other birds?

All other known birds achieve lift 100% with their down stroke while the Hummingbird only uses 75% of its down stroke, leaving the other 25% to be compensated by their up stroke. Hummingbirds have a couple insectoid traits which are really out of place in such a creature. The way they fly as well as their beak which seems to be specifically to receive nectar are really out of character for a "bird". How did this happen? Let's discuss.
 

BrokenAgate

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Good topic for discussion! Here is a hummingbird compared to a hummingbird moth.


The narrator mentions that this either divergent evolution or mimicry, but giving it a name doesn't explain how it works. Is a moth really smart enough to look at a hummingbird and think, "Yeah, I'm gonna look like that guy so I don't get eaten"? Divergent evolution merely induces coincidence on a large scale (and includes things like the thylacine, a marsupial mammal, resembling the wolf, a placental mammal).
 
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Suicufnoc

Suicufnoc

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Good topic for discussion! Here is a hummingbird compared to a hummingbird moth.


The narrator mentions that this either divergent evolution or mimicry, but giving it a name doesn't explain how it works. Is a moth really smart enough to look at a hummingbird and think, "Yeah, I'm gonna look like that guy so I don't get eaten"? Divergent evolution merely induces coincidence on a large scale (and includes things like the thylacine, a marsupial mammal, resembling the wolf, a placental mammal).
Never heard of the hummingbird moth, very interesting.
Divergent evolution? Maybe. I'd be more inclined to think it is convergent evolution. It makes sense to me that if these unrelated creatures have similar diets they might have developed similar traits to harvest such a diet.

Nevertheless, still no clue as to why a hummingbird needs a completely different method of flight compared to all other birds. This is really inexplicable to me, sort of like if a dog was born with a dorsal fin.
 

jd755

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If memory is functioning there is a tobacco plant species in America that has a hummingbird moth (definitely a moth) as its nocturnal pollinater until the moths caterpillars eat too many leaves then it drops its foliage and flowers pretty damn quick and grows a new set this time adapted for hummingirds to act as its diurnal pollinater.
Saw it on some youtube video and may have saved it if so will come back and add the link.
 

BrokenAgate

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Nevertheless, still no clue as to why a hummingbird needs a completely different method of flight compared to all other birds. This is really inexplicable to me, sort of like if a dog was born with a dorsal fin.
Does it really need to hover to drink nectar? It could just grip the stalk or the flower, and stick its beak inside. That would save the bother of spending so much energy in hovering. Just one of those "mysteries" which we're not supposed to think about too much, I guess.
 

Onthebit

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they also go into a suspended animation stupor when they sleep....I have to look for that....

 
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BrokenAgate

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Hummingbirds are cold-blooded?? This article says they are warm-blooded, but that they lack the insulating downy feathers that most birds have, which is why they must lower their metabolism at night. How do hummingbirds survive cold nights? | GrrlScientist Which part of that equation evolved first: the loss of downy feathers, or the ability to lower their metabolism? Or did they, by lucky happenstance, evolve together?
 

jd755

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Hummingbirds are cold-blooded?? This article says they are warm-blooded, but that they lack the insulating downy feathers that most birds have, which is why they must lower their metabolism at night. How do hummingbirds survive cold nights? | GrrlScientist Which part of that equation evolved first: the loss of downy feathers, or the ability to lower their metabolism? Or did they, by lucky happenstance, evolve together?
Heard Alan Watts say arrive together in that there is no bee and no flower they are actually beeflower. They are one and the same both dependent on each other. So in this case birdflower.

We are trained from the get go to separate the world 'slice n dice' starts when be get trained to respond to repetetive sound which we then get told is 'your name', hence we see a hummingbird as totaly separate from its surroundings, foreground without noticing the backgound.
 

Jim Duyer

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How is it possible that these creatures are so different from other birds? How did this happen? Let's discuss.[/QUOTE said:
I have two hummingbirds living in my yard - in the fruit and banana trees behind the window where I am typing this at this time. They disappear somewhere when it gets cold, which happens about four months out of the year. However, cold in the mountain forest where I live is something like 50-60 degrees. It has never gotten below 40 degrees F., roughly 4 degrees C. It also never gets above 85 degrees F or 28-29 C here either - but when it does get close to that temp they disappear as well. There is no area within 10 miles that has warmer temps, and no place within 100 miles that has colder. I have never seen them sleeping, and I am sure that if they hibernated on the property, one of my four dogs would have sniffed them out. They are only seen when the temps are somewhere between 45 and 80 degrees in this country. We also have the famous blue toucan that is advertised on many social media as being extinct. I tried to inform the Media that we have several dozen pairs here, but they said that I am mistaken somehow, and that they are extinct. I guess I would take pictures if I cared enough to change their minds.
 

Jim Duyer

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I noticed an item about it on Disclose.Tv - where an author was lamenting their extinction. I pointed out that they were limited in numbers but alive and well in Central America, and then someone from South America piped up and said they had a few there also. And then the majority said we were both crazy and they were extinct. Jeesshh. Yes, I will post pics once I have them.
 
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