Weird Animal Brain: Woodpecker

Brain damage is a major concern for us humans – car accidents, football, falling backwards. It’s pretty easy to cause a concussion. Woodpeckers, however, pound away daily using much more force than would cause brain damage for us. How are they able to protect their little noggins?



Soniak, M. (2014). Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage?

Wang, L., Cheung, J. T., Pu, F., Li, D., Zhang, M., & Fan, Y. (2011). Why Do Woodpeckers Resist Head Impact Injury: A Biomechanical Investigation. PLoS ONE, 6(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026490

Kayleen Schreiber

Kayleen is obsessed with the brain. After majoring in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, she went straight to a PhD program in neuroscience at the University of Iowa. She currently studies how our brains process speech. She measures electrical changes produced by the brain to understand how the gender of a person talking influences how we hear their speech. Outside the lab, she works to get others excited about science and occasionally plays the bassoon.