April 12, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Animal Flight Control: Where’s the Evolution?

A couple of articles in Science last week discussed the marvels of flight control in birds.  “Being earthbound save for the ability to fly airplanes and helicopters, humans stand in awe of animals that power their own movement through the air by flapping their wings, and of the spectacular maneuvers that some of these animals can achieve,” wrote Brian Tobalske in a Science Perspective.1  His article was listed under the category “Evolution,” but neither his summary nor the original paper said anything about evolution.2  Tobalske’s opening paragraph sets the tone for the actual content of these two papers:

Imagine a common housefly flying in tight, erratic circles as it attempts to escape from a room or a hummingbird diving and turning to chase a competitor away from a backyard feeder.  One might expect these extreme maneuvers to be accompanied by pronounced asymmetries in the way animals move their wings.  Yet, evidence from insects, birds, and bats suggests that aerial maneuvers are routinely accomplished through relatively subtle changes in wing motion.  On page 252 of this issue, Hedrick et al. provide further insight into this phenomenon.  The results will inform all future research into maneuvering flight in animals and biomimetic flying robots.

In other words, the original paper and the Perspectives summary both focused on engineering and biomimetics – not evolution.


1.  Brian Tobalske, “Evolution: Symmetry in Turns,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 190-191, DOI: 10.1126/science.1172839.
2.  Hedrick, Cheng and Deng, “Wingbeat Time and the Scaling of Passive Rotational Damping in Flapping Flight,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 252-255, DOI: 10.1126/science.1168431.

Here once again we find Darwinists in Science taking credit away from intelligent design and stealing it for themselves (see 08/24/2007).  If we could purge scientific journals of their piracy, it would go a long way toward protecting intellectual commerce.

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