So, this is why flamingos stand on one leg
Flamingos are bizarre animals. They regularly stand around on one leg all casual like it’s no big deal (and even sleep like that!) while we humans can only accomplish this, best case scenario, for moments at a time in a yoga class. If you’ve ever asked yourself, ten seconds into any given one-legged yoga pose, “Why the hell can flamingos stand on one leg, but I can’t?” we’ve got an answer for you.
Biologists Young-Hui Chang and Lena Ting recently investigated this burning question. To do this, they spent some time watching flamingos at the Zoo Atlanta. They brought along something called a “force-plate,” which allows the scientists to study balance and gait if a human or animal is standing or walking across it. After many boring hours waiting for the flamingos to fall asleep, it finally happened.
This is what they found. Per the Atlantic, two things happen as a flamingo tries to shift its weight onto one leg:
First, the leg inclines so that the foot moves from being directly under the hip to being directly under the center of the body. Second, the center of mass moves to just in front of the flamingo’s knee, so its body weight naturally pulls the hip and knee forward.
The joints basically lock in place, so flamingos are actually more stable on one foot than they are on two!
They even found that, after death, flamingo bodies can be made to balance on one leg. If you place the legs a certain way, the body will stay upright. In-sane.
(Living) flamingos also do not use any energy to do this, meaning, they aren’t so much balancing on one leg, as they are just resting.
So, no, you will never be able to stand on one leg comfortably for long periods of time, and you definitely won’t be able to sleep like that. It might make you feel a bit better to know that, according to Ting, flamingos apparently projectile poop when they sleep, so at least you have one up on the flamingos in that department.