Bat Wings: Efficiency in Motion

on January 20, 2007
Featured in News to Know

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The second of three design-in-nature articles this week highlights the amazing flight maneuvering capabilities of bats. Scientists Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz, both professors at Brown University, are “combining high-resolution, three-dimensional video recordings with precise measurements of the wake field generated by the bats’ wing movements.” Why, you ask?

The results suggest the possibility that a novel lift-generating mechanism may be at work in bats and point to the highly maneuverable mammals as a model for tiny flying machines.

Breuer . . . is particularly intrigued by bats because “they can generate different wing shapes and motions that other creatures can’t.”

Scientists . . . recognize the problem in accepting that the bat flight mechanism evolved.

The article further extols the “tremendous flexibility and articulation” of bat wings and the “substantial savings” in energy output for the bat. “Bat wings are highly articulated, with more than two dozen independent joints and a thin flexible membrane covering them,” the article explains. But, unsurprisingly, the complexity of bat flight is attributed to evolution:

“The assumption has always been that bats evolved from some sort of flying squirrel-type animals,” says Swartz. “Gliding has evolved in mammals seven times. That tells us that it’s really easy for an animal with skin to evolve into a glider . . . .”

Yet attributing bat flight to evolution creates perplexing problems:

“. . . but going from a square gliding wing to a long, skinny flapping wing has not happened seven times. It might have happened once. And now it doesn’t look like bats have any relationship to these gliding things.”

In other words, scientists recognize the incredible complexity of design in the bat flight mechanisms and recognize the problem in accepting that the bat flight mechanism evolved! Sadly, it appears these scientists would prefer to retain blind faith in evolution than credit the Creator for His designs.

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