Monday, February 05, 2007

Fairy Biology

This week's Lab Notes column at asks whether the "fair folk" in Guillermo del Toro's movie, Pan's Labyrinth, could actually exist.
Could a humanoid creature have wings? Certainly. Earthbound dinosaurs became pteranodons and birds. Tree squirrels became flying squirrels, and rodents became bats. Insects may have discovered the art of flying on two different evolutionary occasions, and even some species of fish have taken to the air. Biologically speaking, a flying primate is by no means out of the question. Clearly, under the right circumstances almost any animal can evolve the ability, if it's small enough to support its own weight by the flight muscles alone.
Read the whole column for discussion of other fairy traits, including shape shifting and teeny tiny brains.



  1. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Well, my only issue here is that pteranodons, flying fish, flying squirrels, and birds all have wings made from modified body parts that their predecessors already had.

    Faeries have extra wings. They have 6 appendages to our 4. Seems that's an awful drastic body plan change to make at such a late stage of the evolutionary tree - at least not without pretty much changing the species so entirely that you could no longer recognize it as a flying human.

  2. That's true. It looks like they would have to have been engineered (or created by magic).


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