Whether they're spotted in the wild, or just covering your lawn, flamingos are known for their bright pink feathers and for, usually, standing on one leg. 

In fact, the typical flamingo stands on a single leg for hours, even in the face of high winds. 

But have you ever wondered why? 

Well, the answer is still being debated among scientists, but there are a few strong theories. 

Theory 1: It's more comfortable 

For the longest time, scientists just simply shrugged and assumed that the whole one leg sitch must be more comfortable for flamingos. A 2009 study stated that standing on one leg "enhances predatory escape", aka itallows flamingos the opportunity to start walking faster if they were being chased by predators. It also stated that it reduced muscle fatigue. Kind of like how you shift your body weight from leg to leg while standing for long periods of time, these birds are just taking that to the next level.

Theory 2: It conserves body heat

Studies have shown that flamingos prefer to stand on one leg MORE when they're in the water. What could be a conclusion to this? At first scientists thought it was to protect their legs from drying out in salt water. Most animals (including humans!) can only survive for so long in salt water without drying out. 

Buuuut that theory wasn't exactly sound, because it turns out flamingos are extremely bad ass birds. 

Flamingos are able to tolerate these harsh conditions, says Sara Hallager, curator of birds at the Smithsonians National Zoo. She notes that some flamingos are found high in the Andes, braving blowing snow and freezing temperatures.

Now scientists think it might actually be to conserve body heat. 

When you are cold, it's natural to want to pull your limbs toward your body, to "keep the heat in." Same thing goes for flamingos. If they only put one leg in the water at a time, they can conserve heat in their other leg. 

Theory 3: Half their body is falling asleep 

Okay, so that last theory? It may not be true, because scientists have observed that even in warmer waters, flamingos still prefer to stand on one leg. 

Now may I present the most bizarre but soundest theory to date...

Flamingos shut off half their brain at a time. 

Yep. You read that right. Similar to whales and dolphins, who have the ability to "sleep" on only one side of the brain at a time, so they don't drown (because, remember, dolphins and whales have to rise to the surface to breathe oxygen), flamingos shut off half their brain at a time so they don't literally fall over when they go to sleep. 

Being half-awake also allows them to stay vigilant for predators.

So, what do you think?

What is it about someone that captivates you instantly?

Could it be the twinkle in their eye as they talk about their passions? Or perhaps its their overwhelming sense of humor that draws in everyone in the room?

Whatever it might be, everyone has that one trait, that one quality, that can make them instantly interesting to someone listening nearby.

Keep reading... Show less
Kraken Images/Unsplash

Turns out not all of us are interested in being benevolent Gods.

It's Reddit, so we're not exactly surprised, but we're suddenly glad divine cosmic powers don't work this way.

Keep reading... Show less

Are you like me and the 1990s were only 10 years ago?

Yes, I can do the math, but 1990 being 32 years ago still seems unreal.

Why is that?

Maybe it's the fact it marked the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.

Either way, it just doesn't seem that long ago and the nostalgia for the trappings of the 1990s is strong.

Keep reading... Show less

You're probably going to be beat over the head with this as you read this charming article but bedbugs are a nightmare and they are always lurking (in the back of my mind) when I think about purchasing some items secondhand.

Some years ago, a relative brought in a stuffed animal and some other items off the street. Within days we had a bedbug issue.

It was thankfully resolved very quickly–good thing it was caught so early–but let's just say I dealt with phantom itch for a while.

Nooo thank you.

Keep reading... Show less