Sunday, February 5, 2017

The impossible bird

Consider these facts as described by Meher Baba

Baba described a bird that looked very much like an ostrich, only twice as large, and could fly slowly.

It was 15 feet high. It's legs were 7 feet long, and like an ostrich.
It had very short wingsspread -- 6 feet. That's less than half its height. 

He said two interesting things about it, one problematic, the other not.

1. It could fly slowly. This is absurd. The height of an ostrich is half that, 7 feet, and its wingspan is the same as Baba described, 6.6 feet, yet it cannot fly. This bird is 50% taller, yet has the same wingspan -- and CAN fly.

Take a look at the length to width silhouette of a Turkey Vulture.

Baba's bird has the length in flight double the wingspread. It's not aerodynamic, and would never be able to fly.

Even a humming bird, which pumps its wings madly fast, has about equal length to height.

Conclusion. The bird Baba describes could not fly.

The one saving grace for Baba is that the source that gives the wingspan (LM 1872) does not say it could fly. And the source that says it could fly (Meher Baba's Early Messages to the West, 2009, p. 178) does not give any wingspan. Thus someone must have messed up somewhere recording this information from Baba.

2. Here's the good news. In Meher Baba's Early Messages to the West, 2009, p. 178 it says Baba said it could run 60 mph. In actually that sounds likely for that height, as an ostrich (about half that height) can run 43 mph. Hence it is reasonable the bird Baba described could have run 60mph. 

Incidentally the fastest human runner was clocked at 28 mph. Hence bipedal running speeds can be quite fast. 

In conclusion the bird likely was 15 feet high, could run very fast, and could not fly -- and looked like one of these: 

Incidentally, the moa, was a 12 foot flightless bird that lived in new Zealand as late as the time of Muhammad. Moa extinction occurred around 1300 AD.

The moa[4] were nine species (in six genera) of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand.[5] The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 3.6 m (12 ft) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb).[6] When Polynesians settled New Zealand around CE 1280, the moa population was about 58,000.[7]
Moa belong to the order Dinornithiformes, traditionally placed in the ratite group.[5] However, their closest relatives have been found by genetic studies to be the flighted South American tinamous, once considered to be a sister group to ratites.[8] The nine[5][note 1] species of moa were the only wingless birds lacking even the vestigial wings which all other ratites have. They were the dominant herbivores in New Zealand's forest, shrubland and subalpine ecosystems for thousands of years, and until the arrival of the Māori were hunted only by the Haast's eagle. Moa extinction occurred around CE 1300

Speaking of other philosophers who cannot fly as high as his thought (the Aristotelians) "Like big earthy birds are they." (Egypt, 200 A.D. The Essential Plotinus, 1964, p. 46 bot.)

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