Can big Bird Fly?

Most recent answer: 07/09/2015

Q:
My question is of hypothetical nature, I hope I can get an your opinion on it.If a bird proportionately grew to the size of an elephant, would it still be able to fly. My friends are saying that it would be able to fly, but I'm unsure if the air density and/or other factors would have some effect that would render it unable to fly.Also what if it proportionately grew 50 times of it's normal size, would it be able to fly then?
- Emir Cogo (age 20)
Zenica, FBiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina
A:

Your friends are not right. Things don't just scale up and act the same if you make them bigger. Galileo discussed this issue at length in his Dialogue on Two New Sciences. He pointed out that if you made an organism ten times bigger (in lengths) it would weigh 1000 times as much. The cross-sectional area of the legs, however, would only increase by a factor of 100. They'd break under the weight. A similar argument would apply to the wings of the giant bird.

Mike W.


(published on 07/09/2015)

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