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Comparative Anatomy of Bird Skulls

A bird's head (skull) is dominated by the large eye sockets (orbits) which take up so much space that the braincase (cranium) is pushed to the back, and the external opening of the ear is pushed to behind and below the eye. At the front of the skull the upper and lower jaws are elongated into a beak which functions like the lips and teeth of mammals. The lower jaw connects with a triangular bone called the quadrate which rotates to open and close the beak. This type of lower jaw assembly and hinge-like mobility is also found in reptiles, and is one reason why scientists consider birds to be close evolutionary relatives of dinosaurs.

Choose a region of the skull to study the comparative morphology of representative species from Ontario.

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