Unfortunately, this is a lie.

Though, I am certain it is unintentional since there is published science on this topic. This demonstrates the dangers of a scientist getting into a topic he doesn't know. I have commented before on errors he makes in computational cognitive neuroscience. This is just another case.

I have a Flamingo named in memorium to my daughter Mary Laurel Thibadeau at the National Aviary ( Here is the flamingo "50" now named "Mary Laurel"

The one leg standing trick is innate, and not learned.

There is an innate leg locking mechanism that is admittedly quite rare. Here is the scientific article from 2017...

Other science writers have found out about it:

It is physics. Even a dead flamingo can easily be made to stand on one leg by lifting it vertically so as to lock the leg as it comes down in a standing position. (Not by lifting the dead flamingo horizontally and trying to get it to stand). It has a minimum energy point in its leg and hip bones. So this one leg capability just happens when a flamingo lands from flight. (All physics and a tiny bit of learning, but not from watching mom...which makes no sense).

From what we know about how brains work, what first caught my attention was the idea that a flamingo's mother teaches this. That just makes no sense. If that was what actually happened it would not be behavioral by the cognitive neuroscience. It would most likely be an 'innate behavioral memory.' Indeed here is an article on that science where you can see it directly for yourself in birds. You can see how learning makes sense and when when it doesn't, specifically with a bird example at the end of this article.

That said, Ethan, you remain a solid go to for physics, and I hope you leave your article with your error and perhaps a warning of how every scientist lies. Indeed Physicists are the best liars on earth.

So, occasionally a little caught lie like this unintentional one should never be held against someone who is, after all, in the cult of the best, most convincing and imaginative liars on the planet.

We all lie. Most all scientists just never mean to.

regards, Bob

Carnegie Mellon University since 1979 — Cognitive Science, AI, Machine Learning, one of the founding Directors of the Robotics Institute.

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