Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Tristan, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Airzoluv: Note that Science Fiction is fiction. I enjoy it, but do not believe that much of it will ever come true.
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  3. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

    Birds not only have wings. They also have hollow bones and huge pectoral muscles. Same with bats. Both extinct and extant flying animals have lightweight, and thus fragile skeletons. For a human to have sustained flight, we would come into a vicious circle, needing bigger wings to lift the extra muscle, which would require still bigger wings to lift them, etc. I saw a calculation somewhere that showed that we would need a sternum six meters long to support the necessary muscles. However, then we would need a much enlarged digestive system to supply enough energy for those huge muscles, which would make us still heavier .. etc. etc. Unless we also changed the skeleton to lightweight construction

    So, as somebody already mentioned: By GE, we might design a human that flies, but it would look like a bird.

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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Look at how large the wings of the largest flying birds are. Condors have wingspans pretty close to what some of you have suggested for flying humans. And they're scavengers, primarily gliding and riding thermals, looking for animals that are already dead and don't need to be chased. And their total weight is what, about thirty pounds?

    Yes, birds' flight muscles are in their chests, not their backs. That's why birds have those huge keels for breastbones, to anchor the powerful muscles. When you give a bird an injection with a syringe, you always do it in their breast, because that's the one place where the muscles are thick enough that you won't accidentally pierce through to an organ. The chest muscles pull the wings down, which is the motion needed to gain lift. The back muscles pull the wings up and don't need to be nearly as strong.

    Although it's been recently discovered that some birds can get negative lift. Chickens can climb up the side of cliffs and even keep going until they're partially upside down. They flap their wings and their back muscles are so powerful that it pushes them back "down" toward the "ground."
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  7. lybogany ¬¬' Registered Senior Member

    Chickens walking on walls? Why I never...

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  8. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    our bodies are not built for flight we would need pectoral muscles the size of an average television but still apparently the bumble bee dosent listen to the laws of physics so what do i know
  9. esoterik appeal h. pylori Registered Senior Member

    aviation science will surpass biology in the next 2-3 decades, as with many sciences.

    for those of you that want wings, just wait until you can be the Rocketeer.
  10. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Maybe it has been mentioned before, but the birds lightweight beak is also an adaptation to flight. Imagine a human with haevy jaws and teeth! It just adds up.
  11. Blue_UK Drifting Mind Valued Senior Member

    With regard to the 'GM' idea, it's pretty obvious that that is simply not an option.

    If you look at it from Richard Dawkins' perspective ("The Long Reach of the Gene"), we may already have the gene for it - the genes that make us intelligent can also be held responsible for the consequences. Such as manufacturing of hang gliders, or the artificial attachment of wings and the components to make them work.
  12. Wings Registered Senior Member

    At the same time, the balance would be completely off. We're too back heavy, so the "joint" where ever it would be, would be waaaaay too far from the sternum. Breathing would become a problem. Then, I also think you would have to trade in your walking for your flying. You would never be able to live on the ground again. But then, some of us are already like that... and some of us don't need wings to fly ^_^
  13. Roman Banned Banned

    Well, if we cut our legs off, we could reduce a lot of weight. Hollow bones would help, smaller organs, too. With smaller organs we'd probably have to eat less meat, as we wouldn't have such a big liver to process all those amino acids. A grain/sugar diet would probably be best.

    We'd have to do a lot of restructuring, getting rid of stuff. I bet we could get by on one kidney. We could also probably remove some brain tissue and make the skull smaller and thinner. Most of our lower body muscles could be removed. Our muscles are pretty heavy. We'd need lots of tendons and stuff in weird places, and less bulky muscles. Next time you're eating bird, notice how soft the flesh is.

    Getting drunk would be cheaper.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2005
  14. Samaritan Registered Member

    cool thread, ups to the one who started it
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I wonder why geese fly in a "V"? Is there some sort of "bow wave" set up by the lead goose? I know "displacement boats" (not surfacing or "plaining" boats) make a "bow wave" with spread angle that is quite independant of boat"s speed and size. Now that I think of it, I think the "goose angles" I have seen are all about the same also. Does anyone know? Do you need a long neck to make "V flying" efficient? If you are really smart can you get the compressibility of air (or the local temperature or something) from "goose angle V" observations & theory?

    On the other hand, the lead goose must be accelerting air down to stay up. So how the others avoid the "clear air down draft"? Any goose wing experts out there care to comment?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2005
  16. Roman Banned Banned

    Billy, have you ever noticed how sometimes one side of the 'V' is longer than the other? Do you know why that is?
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

  18. Roman Banned Banned


    One side of the 'V' has more geese on it than the other.
  19. valich Registered Senior Member

    MRC_Hans and Fraggle Rocker above are right on track. What bothered me was "How could some dinosaurs fly when they were so huge?" Answer: hollow bones, thin wing membranes, and a body structure above the wing span to aid in lift. posted the following scientific finding on Sept. 9th:

    "Fossils show flying reptiles 'much bigger'
    .....The giant reptiles that flew above the earth until about 65 million years ago could have grown to twice the size originally thought with wingspans of at least 18 meters, a paleontologist has said. That would be almost the same width as the 64 foot fully extended wingspan of an F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft and roughly five times bigger than an albatross, which ranks among the birds with the largest wingspans in the modern world.....

    Despite its size, Martill believes his studies of the bone structure and tissue of a pterosaur wing show it could have flown "really rather elegantly".

    "The wing membrane is really very, very thin," he said, adding that the samples were about half a millimeter thick. "One of the other things we found out that was excitingly new was a very different shoulder joint."

    The elaborate structure of the wing, more like that of a bat than a bird, combined with hollow bones and a body not much bigger than a human torso would have kept weight to a minimum.

    "One imagines that the take off problems were less ... particularly if you add the fact that they were very, very lightly constructed to this enormous wing membrane area."

    Martill said he had established that the wing was locked into the bottom of the body rather than the top, providing a greater surface area to benefit from the thermal air currents that give lift during flight.

    More cumbersome would have been the neck, stretching to three meters in length and attached to a skull that could have added an additional two meters. Although not very aerodynamic, it might have allowed the pterosaur to pick up prey from the sea without flying dangerously close, Martill suggested.

    As for why they grew so big, it could have been a function of age: "One of the reasons might be that they just kept on growing," rather than reaching an adult size when growth stops.

    Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed."

  20. Shanaelle Registered Member

    Anyone ever read the books by James Patterson about the kids who were genetically engineered to have wings? There's lots of cool information in there about what would be necessary for flight. For example, they're all fairly short. Well, not midget-like, but I don't think any of them are over 5'8". Second, they've got a large ribcage and matching lungs to go with it. Smaller organs, hollow bones, thin wing tissues, huge muscles, extremely high metabolism requiring them to eat a lot of food very often... and they're all oviparious. According to the book, the scientists at 'The School' grafted avian DNA onto human DNA at or shortly after conception. See, the woman would come to the doctor's office, asking about a pregnancy test, and I think they put her under and then did 'the deed'... then, nine months later, when she was in for a checkup, they faked an emergency, delivered the baby (while the mum was knocked out) and then later told the family the baby had died.

    So they broke a million laws. But you should read his book; I believe the most accurate one would have to be When The Wind Blows. The main character is a vet and gets a chance to examine the winged-girl, it's very cool.
  21. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Roman: Thanx!! I have wondered about the uneven Geese V for many years and done lots of research on the subject. You finally answered my question. More geese on the long side of the V.

    I will start looking for another puzzle to solve.
  22. valich Registered Senior Member

    How does that answer the question of why the V is longer on one side than the other? I think it's purely statistical: one bird follows another.

    If you can remember where you read this I would be very interested. This assumption/calculation borders on the theory of flight.
  23. CANGAS Registered Senior Member



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