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Birds ignore physics to fly in 3rd gear
"Birds ignore physics to fly in 3rd gear"
Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News
Birds aren't the best flyers they could possibly be because they don't
follow the strict rules of aerodynamics, scientists say.
Instead, evolutionary baggage slows them down...
...The team then plotted the speeds of the different bird species against
their body masses as well as their 'wing loading', or the bird's weight
divided by the surface area of their wings.
If birds are as efficient as aeroplanes they should show no significant
family differences in these flight characteristics.
But they do.
"Flight speeds among bird species scaled significantly differently with mass
and wing loading than predicted from basic aerodynamic principles," report
Professor Thomas Alerstam of Lund University and co-authors in the journal
Instead, the birds grouped on the graphs according to their family histories
(or phylogenetic groups) rather than the laws of aerodynamics...
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