Galapagos gives another surprise scientists

Un estudio revela que las fragatas duermen mientras vuelan

04 AGO 2016 / 02:24

The magic of Galapagos, with its enigmatic nature and its unique species, it is surprising the world. A new study by German scientists and an Ecuadorian ornithologist reveals that the frigates can sleep a few seconds while flying.

The sleep study brought together an international team led by Niels Rattenborg, of the Max Planck Institute (Germany), who discovered next to Galapagan ornithologist Sebastián Cruz birds analyzed are able to sleep less than an hour a day with either of the two hemispheres brain. Fieldwork, supported by the Galapagos National Park, was conducted on Genovesa island in the north of the archipelago.

To do this, the scientists chose the largest frigate (Fregata minor), which can take weeks flying over the ocean in search of food. A group of birds of this species were nesting they placed a small device that measures changes electroencephalographic (EEG), developed by Alexei Vyssotski of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; and a GPS (global positioning system). The device does not alter the behavior of birds and removed a few days later.

The analysis of both devices showed that during the day the frigates remain awake and afternoon register a slow-wave sleep (SOL) for several minutes as planned. The upward flight circles revealed that the frigate sleep with one hemisphere, while the other (which is connected to the eye that guides the rotation) is awake, to avoid collisions with other birds.

Capable of flying 10 consecutive days and cover distances of up to 3,000 kilometers, according to the monitoring GPS, frigates also experience dream of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that lasts seconds and is accompanied by loss of muscle tone, so during those episodes birds experience a temporary drop in the head without altering its flight pattern. VTL