Woodpecker beaks have the ability to absorb shock energy without any damage to their body. In his book Origin of the Species Charles Darwin mentioned that the “woodpecker, with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees” in trying to explain how adaptation led to evolutionary changes in the woodpecker. Did the woodpecker with its beak, tongue, tail, and feet really adapt over long periods of evolutionary time or was it designed by its Creator to live in its particular environment and conditions. The analysis in this study shows the intense complexity of the woodpecker’s beak arguing for an engineering design by its Creator. In particular, this study focuses on the structure-property relationships of the woodpecker beak at multiple length scales. In particular, the woodpeckers’ beaks were examined through microscopy and nano/micro indentation to quantify the structure-property relationships with the perspective of mitigating shock waves. The beak of a woodpecker comprises three layers; exterior keratin layer (rhamphotheca) composed of overlapping scales, middle foam layer, and inner bony layer composed of mineral and collagen fiber. Indentation testing revealed that the hardness value of the inner layer is two to three times higher than that of the exterior layer. The overall design of the beak, tongue, and hyoid bone with their specific structure-property relationships in addition to the subsystem designed for shock mitigation appears to have been specifically designed for absorbing energy as they effectively dissipate energy as a whole. The perfection of the beak’s architectural complexity and fine systemization are highly indicative of it being designed by its Creator.


Woodpecker, beaks, energy absorption


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