Dr. Gavin Thomas and his research team at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. are busy scanning 10,000 species of birds. More specifically, they?e scanning the bills of 10,000 species of birds. So far, they?e scanned 4,000. The team is doing this in an effort “to build the most comprehensive data set of bird bills ever attempted,?Phys.org reports.
“There are 10,000 species of bird distributed around the world and they all possess a remarkably diverse and adaptable tool ?the bill,?Dr. Thomas told Phys.org. “The size and shape of the bill can betray the role an animal plays in its environment, what it feeds on and how it forages. We want to learn more about how this diversity came to be and the evolution of a tool as adaptable as the bill is an important piece of the puzzle. Each landmarked scan adds to our understanding of the diversity of birds.?lt;/span>
The team needs your help in landmarking the scans. Through a website called Mark My Bird, citizen scientists can place “points on features of the bill that are common to all specimens. We can use the landmarks to mathematically describe the shape of bills so that we can compare and test how they differ among species. By landmarking our 3D images you can contribute to real science. The digitized data will help us to understand how and why the 10,000 species of birds diversified.?lt;/span>
As citizen scientists landmark ?or map ?the scans, they can move up the leaderboard and mark their progress with badges. To be a citizen scientist on this project, visit the How To Take Part section of the Mark My Bird website. You will be asked to register and to read the Viewer and Landmarking guides.
Will you take part?