I was working in the yard the other day, and we have these horrible weeds. They are prickly, irritating, and can grow with no water, high heat, and they thrive where nothing else can grow. They recently flowered with these small, purple flowers. Attracted to those flowers are some rather huge bumblebees. I remember hearing about those sort of bumblebees when I was young, and how science can’t explain how they could fly. I decided to look into it.
Did a little online research, and from what I can figure out, science HAS been able to figure out the physics – for the most part. They essentially work more like helicopters than like airplanes. At the same time they are still studying the insects because of their amazing abilities to not only fly, but they do so with inefficient technique and immense strength that we have not been able to duplicate. So basically, as soon as we learn one lesson from nature, there are more still to find. “Solving” the miracles of nature simply leads us to more information, and more questions
All I know for sure is that the ones in my back yard were HUGE, UGLY, and flew quickly. They were so big and heavy the plant couldn’t support the weight and they kept ending up on the ground anyway. We may be able to explain how they fly, but it is still amazing. It looked like a jumbo-jet being lifted by a small set of helicopter blades, and moving as fast and nimbly as a hummingbird.
- ‘Extinct’ bumblebee returns to UK (bbc.co.uk)