Flying snakes creative flight, according to New Scientist 29 January 2014, ABC News in Science 31 January 2014 and Journal of Experimental Biology 1 February 2014 and ScienceNOW 4 March 2014. The paradise tree snake Chrysopelea paradise lives in southeast Asian rainforest, where it moves around by slithering up trees like any other snake, but it can also launch itself into the air and glide to other trees which may be up to 10 metres away.

During flight the snake rotates its ribs outwards, flattening its body so that its cross-sectional shape changes from a conventional round shape into an arched semicircular shape. Jake Socha of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, and colleagues have studied the aerodynamics of snake gliding by making a model of the snake body when it is gliding and placing it in a tank of flowing water. This enabled the researchers to assess it aerodynamic properties by observing flow patterns as they tilted the model various angles and measuring lift and drag forces. They found that its aerodynamic properties exceeded their expectations.

Socha explained: “Our expectations going in were that it would not be very good because it does not look like a classically streamlined, airplane-type cross-sectional shape. What we got were some surprising aerodynamic characteristics. In fact, it was much better than we anticipated”. However, observations of the real living snake show that it can do even better than the model. Socha suggests this is because the snake also twists and undulates its body as it glides. Another group of scientists have also studied snake aerodynamics using a computer model similar to those used by aerospace engineers to analyse airflow around aircraft and found the snake can maintain lift at angles much greater than those that would send an aeroplane into a stall. The researchers hope their results can be useful in designing ‘shape shifting’ aerial vehicles and wind turbine blades.

ABC, New Scientist, ScienceNOW

Editorial Comment: Thought about it? You are an evolutionist trying to explain how a non flying snake became an aerodynamic wonder and you have to start by asking; “Why would a non flying snake launch itself out of a tree if it couldn’t fly?” Score a big flat zero in the survival of the fittest competition for life. Would it actually have moveable ribs and the muscle coordination needed to change its body shape for flying unless it actually already had an inbuilt desire to fly? However, just wanting to fly would never have changed its snakey body function. The genetic information for moveable ribs, muscle coordination etc. has to be already built in before launch day. A great example of how foolish Darwin and Dawkins end up looking for what they believe by blind faith. It really is far more logical to believe this snake has both the physical features and behaviour for controlled gliding because these were built in from the beginning by the Creator, who knows how to design things with better aerodynamics than any man-made flying device, and who is the Creator of Genesis 1 and the Christ of John 1. (Ref. herpetology, aerodynamics, design)

Evidence News vol. 14, No. 3
19 March 2014
Creation Research Australia