Fly Wings Differ from Bird or Bat Wings

Fly Wings Differ from Bird or Bat Wings

How does a fly fly? That may sound silly, but we know a little about how a fly’s wings work through AI, robotics, and high-speed photography. We can divide living, powered flyers into four classes: insects (including flies), birds, bats, and pterosaurs (which are extinct). Except for insects, their wings all seem to be modified limbs. Fly wings differ from bird or bat wings.

Scientific research has delved into the intricacies of fly flight. Dr. Michael Dickinson, a professor of bioengineering and aeronautics at Cal Tech, has constructed miniature flight simulators and wind tunnels to unravel the mysteries of the fly’s flight. His work has revealed that flies have a unique and incredibly complex biomechanical hinge, a structure that researchers have attempted to replicate with robotics.

Twelve neurons and twelve muscles control flight in insects. Flies have a hinge connecting the wings to the muscles in a structure like a complex 3-D puzzle. To study the movement of the fly’s wings, researchers recorded 70,000 individual wingbeats with high-speed cameras at 15,000 frames per second. When you see a fly land on a window, look carefully at the hardware that it possesses. It has feet that can stick to glass, and its ability to fly in any direction makes it hard to swat.

The design features built into these small insects enable them to survive in a world where many creatures eat them to survive. We are not promoting a “save the fly” campaign, but animals from fish to chameleons depend on flies for food. The fly population will never be wiped out because of the design features enabling them to survive.

This complex design is clearly not a product of gradual change from the modified limb structures of bird or bat wings. Fly wings differ from bird or bat wings. Instead, they are exquisite, unique structures that experts are studying to understand how the wings work. Perhaps they will learn some things to enhance human flying machines. Even the scourge of flies has something to teach us, and we suggest that one of those things is the wisdom of God.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

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