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

  1. Tristan Leave your World Behind Valued Senior Member

    If a human had wings, how big would they have to be? Im talking wings used for flight, like a bird.

    Would genetic engineering in the future allow for this to be possible? I suppose it would considering advances in biological research right now. Far in the future, but indeed possible.

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  3. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    It depends on what flight characteristics you want to emulate. Jump out of an airplane with the anatomy we have, and we are effectively birds, with the glide ratio of a penguin, but a very close approximation of the basic configuration of a bird, even without control-enhancing feathers on our fingertips and asses.

    For the wing-loading and lift/drag efficiency of an eagle, we'll need to grow arms lenghtened to something like 3 meters each, have our bones pared down to the barest structural minimum, our lungs and aerobic capacity quadrupled, etc until we look more like birds than humans. Athough GE may enable this, it seems more likely that we will closely model the experience of being a soaring bird, and enter the experience virtually, with full-sensory immersion (Star-Drek Holodeck).

    If you have some appreciation for what being an eagle must be like, and you learn to fly sailplanes, you can exceed the capabilities, if not the instincts, of eagles, and all other birds. I'm not convinced we can presently exceed an eagle's sense of joy in the present stage of human evolution: I've flown with many eagles and hawks, and at the higher altitudes, they are obviously not hunting or travelling. If youspend much time with them up there, you can plainly perceive that they are purely, immensely, flambouyantly... enjoying themselves.
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  5. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

    why not just hop in a plane or high speed train in the future? we have no need to fly.
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  7. Tristan Leave your World Behind Valued Senior Member

    Im talking about 2 big ass wings planted right on the back of a human. With feathers and all. Much like our present day conception of an "angel".

    Would our bones neccesairly have to be taken down like that if we had big enough wings to move to weight? I thought that was just an evolutionary thing to cut down on weight for birds.

    Well, im addicted to just flying. I love it. My dad used to sell private airplanes, so Ive had my hand in flying. Ill probably end up doing gliders to get the same effect
  8. curioucity Unbelievable and odd Registered Senior Member

    Wouldn't it be that unless you can flutter your wings in a high speed you'll need to run fast to use em?
  9. Closet Philosopher Off to Laurentian University Registered Senior Member

    Think about the size of a hang glider.

    People can fly on those for hours in the desert by catching up-drafts. Assuming we could flap our wings, then the wings would be slightly smaller. Hang Gliding may give you an idea of how bog our wings would have to be.
  10. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

    If you want the wings growing out of the back, you would need a changed skeleton and new muscles affixed to the wings, and strong enough to move wings that would be 3 to 4 meters each. Assuming that the present strengh of bone would stay the same, as well as the normal shape of the body, those wings would have to carry very much weight, according to this, the new muscles on the back must be incredible powerful, requireing high amounts of energy and oxygen.
    Indeed it would be better to use a hang glider.
  11. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

    Adding to what Dreamwalker mentioned

    The wing muscles most likely will be heavy at base and get lighter as they go out.

    The wing itself would have to be strong, yet light material....maybe just strong, double or triple layered fleshes of skin with few nerves and blood vessels.

    To support an average of 110-180 lbs human being would require most the muscles power to be in wings and the wing span itself would easily be in double digits.
  12. Tristan Leave your World Behind Valued Senior Member


    Maybe Ill hand glide in real life, and leave the wings for my dreams haha

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Seriously though, I was just thinking about how real it could be. Thanks everyone!
  13. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member


    Wouldn't be too sexy in real life. Comics and fantasy make humans with wings look awesome but in reality it would be quite offputting.
  14. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    Actually it would be best not to weight the wings down with muscle. Also I cannot see how they would work. It would be best to have very large pecs!
  15. vslayer Registered Senior Member

    flapping speed x wing surface(cm2) = 89.91cm3

    89.91cm3 is what i have worked out to be the average human volume, you need to displace a volume of air eqaul to or greater than this volume in order to take flight.

    im stuck on the next step
  16. Pzygote Registered Member

    I think it would be possible to optimize all the relevant factors such that wings could be grafted on to a human body. The wings could be a biological system onto themselves with appropriate interfaces to the outside/rest of the body. Large flying creatures have not only been theorized to have existed in earth history but are accepted by many as science fact. Biological systems are incredibly versatile and could be engineered to specific purposes. The devil is in the details...any further thoughts?
  17. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

    To grow wings on the back, you'd need another pair of limbs on the back. If you compare the anatomy of a bird to that of a human, wings correspond to arms. Your arms hang on scapulas and clavicles. So, wings from the back are a bad, strange idea. Besides, angels aren't sexy.
    Stick to arms converting into wings.
  18. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I once read SciFi story set in the far future when genetic engineering was a very mature science.

    In the story a very wealthy and spoiled woman wanted a flying horse engineered. She was planning a lawn party and wanted something new and unique to show off.

    The genetic engineer asked if she wanted a creature that looked like the legendary flying horse of Greek mythology or did she want a horse that really could fly. She said she wanted a horse that could not only fly, but which could also give rides to her guests.

    The genetic engineer showed her a computer generated sketch of the proposed beast. It had huge wings and pectoral muscles about ten feet thick. The legs were short and thick, and the head was very small. It did not look much like a horse. The woman said that it was ugly and showed a picture of an artist’s concept of Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek mythology.

    She became petulant and abusive when the genetic engineer tried to explain that she could have a creature that looked like the mythological Pegasus or a vaguely horse like creature that could fly, but she could not have one creature that satisfied both specifications.

    I suspect that a human who could fly would not look very much like one of us.
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    With a pair of small strap on wings about 2m wide, you could fly... on titan.
    Flight parameters are not just controlled by variables like weight, power and wing area, but also by gravity and air pressure. You could make it so a human being could fly completely human powered with nothing more complicated then strap on wings, but then you would need to up the air pressure and reduced the gravity.
  20. Emmveepee Registered Senior Member

    Well with future technology, anything is possible - But of course, the government will regulate it.

    I'm sure putting wings on people is not the first thing on the list. Although it would be VERY fun.

    Now I want to handglide.
  21. mysta02 Registered Member

    I really doubt that humans will be able to have biological wings for a very long time. But I believe that with exercise of the arms and legs, man-made wings of balsa or carbon fiber would work to lift us off the ground and enable flight. The more exercise the person did, the farther and higher they could go. It would be amazing to be able to fly from place to place. I hope that we'll be able to do it in the near future.
  22. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Mysta02: There is a reason why birds have small heads, hollow bones, and are not very big. As size increases, the ratio of surface area to voume and mass decreases. Large creatures built like humans just cannot fly. Glide using a hang glider is the best we can do.
  23. Airzoluv Registered Member

    Human brains are under development all the time...
    Were just getting smarter and smarter...
    For about 15 years ago... computers was something none knew anything about,... they couldnt do anything... but now 15 years later... see for yourselves...
    Im just saying that anything is possible.. we discover new things all the time..
    Mabye for some years it is possible to try to set some kind of injection on just born humans or animals, so ther will grow wings out while theyr growing.

    *If a man invented a timemachine for ex. last saturday, would he tell anybody about it?, mabye the time machine is already created by some lonley scientist, and he has travelled trew time allready* :bugeye:

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