The nuchal ligament of large grazing mammals provides support for the head and seems to act as a shock absorber, due to the presence of the protein elastin.
"Our own rubber, elastin, occurs mainly as a component of two composites, skin and arterial wall. The nearest thing to pure elastin is the nuchal ligament of large grazing mammals. It runs from a ridge on the rear of the skull back along the top of the neck to the thoracic vertebrae; it seems to act as a shock absorber as well as a support for the head." (Vogel 2003:304)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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