Interesting Facts – Do You Know That:

Dinosaurs loved to sleep

Most, although not all, dinosaurs loved to sleep. Scientist made these conclusions based on the analysis of dinosaur’s bone structures, diets and most probable habitats, all the while comparing them with their closest living modern species such as crocodiles and birds both of which sleep.

Carnivorous dinosaurs, for example Tyrannosaurus Rex and Deinonychus, probably slept a lot, because, like most predaceous warm or cold-blooded animals, they take their meals in big chunks after a quick pursuit, then go back and rest.

Herbivorous dinosaurs, on the other hand did not get a chance to sleep as much, because they spent more time eating continuously throughout the day, but rested at night.

As for sleeping positions, scientists suspected that two legged dinosaurs would have slept lying down, whereas sauropodes like the brontosaurus with their long necks and tales and elephant-like stance on four straight legs, would have slept standing up. These latter dinosaurs were so heavy that if they lie down or fall down they could not stand up and thus would have died.

2. Why birds don’t fall off their perches when they sleep
Birds don’t have to work at not falling off their perches.  Tendons on the bottom of their feet, called flexor tendons, respond to pressure from a branch or other perch by causing the toes to wrap around the perch automatically. Thus, when birds are relaxed or sleep, their toes clenched up. This is in contrast to many humans who only clench their toes at the time of sexual orgasm.

3. Why the wandering albatross is the longest-living bird in the wild
How long is long? In this case, it is not known exactly how long the life span of the albatross is.  The information obtained from bird bands returned to ornithologists indicates that both royal and wandering albatrosses, the two largest species, are around for at least forty years.

Ornithologists are of the opinion that albatrosses live to be eighty in the wild.  However, as with any species, individuals might live longer in captivity, safe from predators.  The albatross have such a long life because of its habits.  It nests on remote islands in southern seas in and around Antarctica, far removed from most predators.

Albatrosses have a bizarre breeding cycle.  The young are fed until they become huge, the nestlings actually weighing more than the adults.  The then adults take off and ride the ocean winds, soaring and following them around the edge of the ocean for about a year.  The young sleep in the nest, living off their fat reserves, until the adults return.

Then the former nestlings then rejoin the flock as adults, ready for courtship, which is also accomplished in an offbeat way.  Whereas most birds sing during courtship,  albatrosses rattle their bills with each other, like two buccaneers in a saber fight, clapping them together extremely fast.

4. Why large marine mammals sleep without drowning
Some sleep out of the water, and some may not sleep at all.  The furred or hairy aquatic mammals (seals, etc.) have an unexplained ability to spend a long time deer underwater. However, they rise to breathe and emerge from the ocean to sleep, relax, molt, mate, and reproduce on a beach, rock, ice floe or snow cave above the water.

It is not clear how cetaceans (whales, etc.) and sirenians (sea cows and manatees) sleep. Though whales come to the surface to breath air into their lungs, they are able spend a long time between breaths, sometimes up to an hour, and must be conscious to breathe.  Whales would drown if they fell asleep or were knocked unconscious.

These animals must think about each breath.  They cannot have an unconscious sleep, as we know it.  Some theories suggest that the whale has an ability to rest half of the brain and control breathing functions with the other half, but is no evidence to support this contention.

Sea cows and manatees tend to live in warm, calm, shallow, vegetation-rich waters where they can float lethargically at or near the surface.  They have an extremely low metabolic rate, do not expend much energy to regulate body temperature and require little oxygen.  Manatees may sleep or rest supported by the bottom.  When they hold their breath, large blubber deposits and natural buoyancy let them float at the surface and engage in a resting behavior, though not an unconscious sleep.

5.Why the mouth and eyes sometimes water when you yawn?
Watering of the eyes may result from pressure on the main tear glands, at the outer margins of the eye sockets, because of the facial contortions involved in yawning.  The involuntary act of yawning usually includes opening the mouth very wide while slowly taking in a deep breath. The same contortions might also put pressure on the salivary glands, especially in a stifled yawn, when the yawner struggles to keep the mouth closed while opening the throat wide.

It is still not known exactly why people yawn or why yawning is contagious.  One theory suggests that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood trigger yawning, but other studies have contradicted this.

6. Does the act of thinking burn calories?
The brain’s activities do expend energy, and fuel is burned, albeit in very small amounts.  Thinking would play a very minor role in the sense of actually breaking down fatty tissue so that one might lose weight.

Extensive studies of brain function have been made. The varying levels of energy use at different levels of activity and in different areas of the brain have been mapped by PET scans and magnetic resonance imaging.  For example, it is known that signal transference involves energy-using processes at the cellular and molecular levels, but very little heat is produced. The most significant role of the brain in weight loss would probably involve the state of mind and motivation of a person who had decided to diet or exercise to lose weight.