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7 myths about bats | Mental floss



Game of Thrones is a show that requires a serious suspension of unbelief. It exists in a universe where the dead can be resurrected from their graves, people can see through the eyes of animals, anyone can travel with or at the speed of light between Dragonstone and Eastwatch, and Jon Snow can frown continuously for seven seasons [19659002] Nevertheless, as we await the premiere of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones by Game of Thrones on April 14, and if we remember that Drogon floated in the air every time Blowing your throat over one of Daenerys Targaryen's enemies in last season's battles –

; we've started to wonder: Could such a big beast really fly like that through the air? Fortunately, two scientists who have dedicated their lives to researching flying creatures have agreed to clarify that for us.

Kevin McGowan, a crows-trained ornithologist from Cornell, says there's one main problem with kite flying: physics. "They're just so damn big," he says. "Too big to ever get off the ground."

For comparison, the Albatros weighs around 25 pounds and requires a wing span of 10 feet to lift itself up. And birds are not so easy to enlarge. McGowan says that as a bird gets heavier, its wingspan needs to grow exponentially to keep up, "If you need a wing span of 10 feet for a 25-pound bird, what would you need for a 2000-pound kite? ? "(Last season, an eagle eye engineer estimated that Drogon weighed about three tons and flew with a wingspan less than 60 feet – and the dragons are now even larger.)

In reality, bird species usually remain small in order to not having to grow wings exponentially. Those who grow large wings like the albatross can travel long distances – but pay the price for maneuverability. Smaller-winged birds can maneuver in confined spaces, but spend much more energy to stay in the air. "Birds make many compromises in flying," says McGowan, "and dragons just do not do that."

Nevertheless, there is hope that our dragon-sized fantasies will take flight. Michael Habib, Paleontologist and Assistant Professor of Clinically Integrative Anatomical Sciences at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, is studying the flight mechanics of extinct animals, including giant pterosaurs once considered too large to lift off the ground. He also works with film studios such as Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm to design credible flying monsters such as Griffin, Hippogreife, and Pegasi. He says there are three tricks to plausibly scale fantasy flying.

First, you want to give them the right wing type. Like modern bats, pterosaurs that lived 228 to 66 million years ago had membrane wings whose skin was stretched over a series of elongated fingers. They are suitable for slow, manoeuvrable flight movements and need not be as large as the wings of a bird compared to the body. Habib tells Mental Floss that a dragon with a good pair of wings can easily sustain the flight as soon as it is in the air – but he could only get there "if he started with a catapult" (19659002) Dragon must have the right skeletal structure to have. Your bones should be strong enough to withstand the massive mechanical forces without becoming too strong. Hollow bones are best; They are actually stronger than a very dense bone with a similar mass. Habib explains this because the ability of the bone to withstand the stress of the flight depends on its diameter – the bigger it is, the more power it can endure. A hollow, air-filled bone can be much wider than a dense bone full of bone marrow, and it still weighs less than the dense bone.

Third, and most importantly, a dragon must have enough strength to take off as much as possible. Habib says that almost every animal that flies, from birds to flying squirrels to winged snakes, jumps into the air and does not hit its wings.

"Birds get only two hind limbs for jumping power," says Habib. "Bats are better – and pterosaurs too – because they can run on their wings and jump from all four limbs."

That makes a big difference, especially because the strength of a bird lies in its wings. While birds take off less than half of the muscle power of their bodies, bats and pterosaurs start with everything they have. This allowed the largest pterodactyls to evolve into 550-pound giants, while the heaviest bird – the extinct Argentavis magnificens – made up about 150 pounds.

The dragons in the Game of Throne have membrane wings and they could have hollow bones. In the third season WIRED reported that the animators of the show based the kites on a cross between an eagle and a bat. (Their exhausting, flabby hovering certainly draws for fruit bats.) Although the dragons run around like bats on their wings, they do not seem to jump from them at launch. Throughout the series, we see them diving off the cliffs and running away, jumping off their hind legs after a running start, sometimes flapping their wings and leaving the ground.

Habib says that even if a dragon lives up to his expectations, it could only grow up to 1000 pounds without grounding – not several tons like Daenerys' children.

"They are probably out of bounds for any anatomy," Habib admits, unless they are secretly made out of carbon fiber and titanium. "

" Maybe they are full of hot air, "McGowan suggests," or maybe it's just magic. "

And what would happen if a dragon got a hole in its membrane wing, as Viserion rose from the dead in the finale of Season 7? Could it still fly?" The short answer is probably a bit, but not as good as normal, "says Habib.

Bats can fly with similarly damaged wings as the wings move through the air. We tend to regard them as paddles (19459003) that push the air, but wings are indeed drawing air Like any other fluid, the air has some self-sufficiency, so that air sticks to other air. "When the wing pulls in the air, it flows over and around the wing and will skip the air within the small gaps and imperfections of the wing, just as water leaps over the holes in a storm screen, "says Habib." The more holes you put in the wing, the less ineffective he will become amer, but he will work to some extent. If there are too many holes, it will fail. "Hang Gliding does not matter," I think all day, when I go home, I do not want to think anymore, all I can say is that it's magical, I do not care . "


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