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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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Albatross: amazing gliding animal

Posted by WishbonE at 1:13 AM

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

  • An albatross can sleep while flying.
  • An albatross can glide for up to six days in mid-air without beating it's wings, and that it can take a nap while doing so,
  • Wide-winged and long-lived, albatrosses are rarely seen on land, preferring to stay out on the ocean except to mate and raise their young.
  • One Laysan albatross, tracked by biologists at Wake Forest University, flew more than 24,843 miles in flights across the North Pacific to find food for its chick in just 90 days — a flight distance equivalent to circling the globe.
  • Albatross can live up to 80 years.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae

Contrary to popular belief, albatrosses do not sleep while flying. They sleep on the ocean surface.
Albatrosses are efficient long-distance flyers. Rather than flapping their wings to provide lift as most birds do, they glide on air currents. For every meter they drop while gliding, they can travel forward 22 meters. When their wings are fully extended, they are locked into place by a tendon so that the albatross does not have to expend energy keeping its wings outstretched.
Albatrosses feed primarily on squid or schooling fish, but are familiar to mariners because they sometimes follow ships in hopes of dining on handouts or garbage.

The albatrosses are a group of large to very large birds; they are the largest of the procellariiformes. The bill is large, strong and sharp-edged, the upper mandible terminating in a large hook. This bill is composed of several horny plates, and along the sides are the two "tubes", long nostrils that give the order its former name. The tubes of all albatrosses are along the sides of the bill, unlike the rest of the Procellariiformes where the tubes run along the top of the bill.
These feathered giants have the longest wingspan of any bird—up to 11 feet (3.4 meters)! The wandering albatross is the biggest of some two dozen different species. Albatrosses use their formidable wingspans to ride the ocean winds and sometimes to glide for hours without rest or even a flap of their wings. They also float on the sea's surface, though the position makes them vulnerable to aquatic predators. Albatrosses drink salt water, as do some other sea birds.

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