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Bearded Vulture  Tibet | by reurinkjan
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Bearded Vulture Tibet

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Gypaetus barbatus,


An animal especially evolved to feed on bones is not a mammal, but ... a bird! If vultures are known to strip the meat of the carcasses to the bones, this one will eat bones, too: the bearded vulture or lammergeier. A bearded vulture is impressive through its coloration and size: 3 m (10 ft) in wingspan and a weight of 5 to 7 kg (11 to 15 lbs)! As it eats more bones than flesh, its head is not bald like in the case of other vulture species.

This spectacular bird had to find something for replacing the bone crashing jaws: a special technique of its own. This bird carries up in the air, holding with its feet, big bones (this is the only vulture that can grab things!), that are eventually (when the bird has reached the right height and place) dropped. The bones fall on special rocks (called anvils and used for years and even generations) and an experienced individual will break apart the bone from the first trial. Unlike other vultures, the bearded vulture will not touch rotten meat!


By Stefan Anitei, Science Editor

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Taken on September 22, 2008