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Science Today is a daily radio feature produced by the University of California for the CBS Radio Network. From breakthroughs in medicine, agriculture and the environment to insights into the world around us, Science Today covers it all.

A woodpecker drives its head into a piece of wood at deceleration forces of up to 1,200 times the force of gravity with each blow (and it’s estimated they do this about 12,000 times in a day). And yet, they don’t get brain damage. For materials scientists like Joanna McKittrick @ucsd, who work on bio-inspired materials, this is intriguing stuff …

The skull is a very nice, impact-resistant shell, so we are looking at their skulls - and their tongues also play a role into this, too. Amazingly enough, their tongues can wrap around their skulls …. if you like nature and you are curious about animals, almost everything you see, you’d say, why that, what is that function and can we duplicate that in the lab?

A woodpecker drives its head into a piece of wood at deceleration forces of up to 1,200 times the force of gravity with each blow (and it’s estimated they do this about 12,000 times in a day). And yet, they don’t get brain damage. For materials scientists like Joanna McKittrick @ucsd, who work on bio-inspired materials, this is intriguing stuff …

The skull is a very nice, impact-resistant shell, so we are looking at their skulls - and their tongues also play a role into this, too. Amazingly enough, their tongues can wrap around their skulls …. if you like nature and you are curious about animals, almost everything you see, you’d say, why that, what is that function and can we duplicate that in the lab?