Thesis Statement

The ability of flight is a unique evolutionary adaptation that can be seen through the anatomy and physiology of birds. The importance of the idea that “form equals function,” can be investigated by looking at the unique anatomical adaptations between different species of birds who have adapted alternate flight methods that reflect their individual needs. An in-depth analysis of a specific species of bird, the Yellow-nosed Albatross, was performed to better understand how the unique anatomy of this species reflects the challenges that it must overcome in order to survive in a marine environment. Because the plumage covering birds effectively obscures the underlying anatomy, it makes it difficult to understand the relationship of form and function with respect to avian flight.


Solution Statement

The solution proposed in this thesis was to create a museum exhibit targeted for a general audience on the topic of avian flight adaptations with an emphasis on the specialized flight and anatomy of the Yellow-nosed Albatross. Large scale illustrations accompanied by text worked together to provide an educational experience for visitors to the exhibition. To further enrich the illustrations there was accompanying components that promoted interaction from the audience in order to create a memorable experience and elicit greater interest in the topic of avian flight adaptations.



Professor Beth Halasz The Cleveland Institute of Art, Biomedical Art Department
Professor Joe Pangrace The Cleveland Institute of Art, Biomedical Art Department
Professor Deb Harris Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology
Professor Tom Nowacki The Cleveland Institute of Art, Biomedical Art Department


Additional Resources

Case Western Reserve Thinkbox
Aves 3D Database
Biosphera 3D Bird Anatomy (Pigeon) Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Educational Website
Audubon Field Guide Website

Research References

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Videler JJ. Avian flight. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2005. 269 p.

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Kaiser GW. The inner bird: anatomy and evolution. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press; 2007. 386 p.

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Dial KP. Avian forelimb muscles and nonsteady flight: can birds fly without using the muscles in their wings?. Auk. 1992; 109(4): 874-885.

Carliner S. Modeling information for three-dimensional space: lessons learned from museum exhibit design. Technical Communication. 2001; 48(1): 66-81.

Pennycuick CJ. The flight of petrels and albatrosses (Procellariiformes), observed in South Georgia and its vicinity. Biological Sciences. 1982; 300(1098): 75-106.

Allen S. Designs for learning: studying science museum exhibits that do more then entertain. Science Education. 2004; 88(1): S17-S33.

Allen S, Gutwill J. Designing science museum exhibits with multiple interactive features: five common pitfalls. Curator. 2004; 47(2): 199-212.