Marc A. Meyers came up with the idea for his most recent research project on a walk with his father some 40 years ago. They were in the forest near their home in a small town in Brazil, and Meyers stopped to rest. That's when he noticed a toucan skull lying on the ground. The bird's previously bright-yellow beak had faded, he recalls, but was otherwise intact. He picked it up. "The beak was so light, yet it was reasonably strong and stiff," he says.
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