Why do Birds Have Beaks?

When it comes to birds, there’s usually a common question asked: why do they have beaks? Sure, the most straightforward answer might be: “because that’s how they’re born” — but in all actuality, there’s a reason why birds have beaks and not teeth. Still stumped on the answer? Let us explain:

Historical Roots

Believe it or not, birds had existed around the time of the dinosaurs — and once had teeth. Of course, while their large, reptilian friends have grown extinct, birds have not and still continue to evolve. 

According to research, scientists had discovered the remains of a limusaurus — which was a dinosaur that bared resemblance to an ostrich. Over time, they realized that when this creature had evolved, it lost its teeth. 

The theory behind the limusaurus losing its teeth was that some living creatures 154 million years ago went from being carnivores (meat eaters) to herbivores (plant eaters) — and scientists suspect birds may have made the gradual genetic adjustment, too.

Essential for Survival

When you think about birds, many of these winged creatures are known to fly around and be lighter than air — especially if they’re in the wild. Since a bird doesn’t have teeth, it’s an extra layer of weight that’s lifted from their bodies. 

This not only gives them their iconic quick reflexes, but it also helps them acquire their food, too. Since many birds use their beaks to pick up food, the sharp point acts as a pair of tweezers and helps them pick up their meal with ease. 

Primarily Helps with Flight

When you carefully examine a bird’s beak, you’ll notice that the texture is light and airy. In addition to being tooth-less, a thin, light beak will help birds take flight. If birds were equipt with heavy beaks, then they wouldn’t be able to flutter around the sky, nor would they be able to jump away from any danger that may lurk by them. 

The best way to think of a bird’s beak is like an airplane. Think of the structure of the plane: it’s pointed in the front — which helps with flight but also can help with the speed, too. The same concept applies to a bird’s beak. 

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