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

  1. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    our pectoral muscles would have to be huge, im not sure what other muscles would assist in the movement. our whole frame and structure would have to change to compensate for flight.

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  3. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned


    a seal or sealion?, and fresh water things like a platypus otter and beaver.

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  5. granpa Registered Senior Member

    if the world were 4 dimensional we would be small enough to fly.
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  7. granpa Registered Senior Member

    increased atmospheric pressure would help.

    air at stp is 1000 times less dense than water.
  8. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Interesting and sort of obvious, but I was ignorant of this fact. Reminds me of the two major division of fish: True bones vs cartlige like sharks, rays, etc.

    I made one word of your post bold. - Do you know if the vampire bats are in the non-ecolocation group. (We have them in Brazil - they would cut the leg low of my cows to get a drink, but we do not seem to have much, if any, rabid ones.)
  9. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Flap your arms like wings. Note the muscles & tendons used to produce the motion. Try to imagine another set of arms attached to your back. What sort of muscles & tendon linkages would be required to flap that extra set of arms?

    If you think about it, wings attached to the back of a large vertabrate with two arms & two legs does not seem like a worklable design.

    Perhaps your scifi story might be closer to scientific feasibility if you used the following scenario.
    • Future advances in surgery techniques, alowing bones & tendions to be replaced by some exotic alloys which are strong and light.

      Steroid-like drugs enhancing the strength of muscles & the speed of musclular contraction.

      Special artificial food & drug-induced modification of the metabolic processes providing for enough energy to run the enhanced body.

      A long trainiing period required to increase the size & strength of pectoral and arm muscles.

      A requirement for extra rest in order to recuperate from prolonged powered flight, making it a sound strategy to do as much soaring & gliding as possible.

      Artificial wings attached permanently to the arms, allowing for finger dexterity but not allowing activities such as playing tennis. The person so modified could write, knit, use various tools, et cetera (activities requiring use of the hands and fingers). Activities like golf, tennis, using a rifle or a hand gun, climbing a ladder, et cetera would be clumsy at best due to the wings. Simple actions like opening a door might be clumsy due to no elbow joint and a not so efficient shoulder joint. You might open a door by grabbing the knob or handle and backing up.

      Changes in psychology and appearance due to the above artificial enhancements. Postulate that few would be willing to volunteer due to the changes required and the necessary side effects.

      Note that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some extreme compromises would be required to allow a human to fly using his own internal power sources. Either the above or a similar scenario or a creature looking more like a bird than a human being (and perhaps not capable of supporting a human-like brain).
    The above would provide a plausible basis for a creature capable of powered flight while still looking a lot like an ordinary human being and possessing a brain comparable to those possessed by other humans.
  10. aeroflyte Registered Member

    Biological Human Flight, and Topics thereof

    Regarding the posts on page 2 about the certain Patterson series dealing with genetically altered flying kids: good books, if a bit lame and/or shallow in some parts regarding real science. But hey, this is teenage science fiction we're talking about. I digress.
    Though unrealistic in some respects, the Maximum Ride series actually ignited (or, should I say, "awakened") a fascination of flight for me. The very fact I am writing this testifies to that. And, also that I am speculating the idea of a ultra-light, ultra-portable glider ( possibly lightly powered) that is capable of granting a single person an alternate transportation method. Obviously, the gift of flight.
    So far all research I've done on the subject is... somewhat discouraging.
    But I digress again, for now.
    I think that genetically altering an embryo is possible. After, of course, years of failures, guesswork, and ethic- breaking. But when a finished product did come through, it could hardly be called "human".
    And, of course, there is no hope of natural flight for us fully developed humans, other than excruciating gene therapy and a 99% failure chance. And of course, the dozens of unforseen consequences...
    Anybody here read Crichton?
    So, we must turn to the technological alternatives. For now.
    I digress. For now.:bugeye:
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The largest bird that is capable of flight is the Andean condor. It weighs only 26 pounds (12kg) and has to have an 11-foot (3.5m) wingspan to get lift.

    I'm not an aeronautical engineer but I am an aviculturist. I observe that the size of a bird's wings is not merely proportional to its weight. Large birds have wings that are much bigger, relative to their body size, than small birds. A hummingbird's wings are somewhat smaller than its body, a macaw's wings are about the same size as its body, and a condor's wings are much larger than its body.

    I would guess that even a really small human, one that only weighs four times as much as a condor, would need at least a 35-foot (10m) wingspan to actually fly and not just glide. And I'm estimating conservatively because I'm out of my field of expertise, but I'll bet money that my figure is not exaggerated.

    And there's the rest of the anatomy to consider. Those wings need some massive muscles and those muscles have to be anchored to something strong and solid in order to function. Birds have gigantic breastbones. (Check out the turkey skeleton you toss out after Thansksgiving, and turkeys don't even fly any more.) The anatomy of the human torso would have to be almost completely redesigned to anchor the muscles that control a pair of 18-foot wings. Instead of that flimsy sternum of ours that doesn't do much more than keep our ribs from falling out when we bend over, we'd have a keel the size of Maui sprung with 25 pounds of new muscles. No more hugging, we'd never get within two feet of each other's faces.
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Bird's weight goes roughly as the cube of size and the lift as the square (wing area). So if you double the characterist dimention of the bird (say body length), the weight goes up by factor of 8 but the wing area on by factor of 4. - that can not fly. So the wing to body ratio must at least double when you double the characteristic dimention of the bird.

    The wing area to body length raito is approximatley linearly increasing with the body length. - If you have the data, check to see it this is not true.

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