Feline Flight (05:10)
Weavers make massive communal nests, attracting Caracals. The cat's long, muscled back legs propel it into vertical leaps to catch birds mid-air. Their flexible spines can rotate in opposite directions simultaneously, allowing leg positioning in time for landings.
Gravity Propulsion (05:36)
Kangaroos survive the arid heat of the Australian Outback by licking themselves; they require water, traveling long distances to obtain it without tiring. Their legs' tendons absorb and recycle energy; faster speeds require launch angle shifts rather than faster movements.
Ultimate Launch Mechanism (05:09)
The tiny planthopper avoids frolicking cows' mouths and hooves by propelling at superlative speeds. When on unstable launchpads, they can lose control; jumping is a necessary risk for survival.
Duckling Dive (04:55)
In the flooded forests of North Carolina, Mallards make nests in trees, protecting eggs from predators. Chicks jump to mother shortly after hatching, saving them from impact injury by using air flow to control landings; all 12 survive and lead to safety.
Nocturnal Flyers (06:36)
Flying squirrels deploy arm skin to glide among trees. Long limbs offer wide wing span and other adaptations increase control and reduce drag. They avoid great horned owls by anticipating attacks, taking short flights at full speed, and making emergency stops by forming into a parachute.
Reptile Glider (06:04)
Paradise Tree Snakes avoid Borneo forest floor predators by staying in treetops, crossing gaps among branches by stiffening bodies into bridges. Maneuvering out of tall Mangaris requires flight; they launch themselves from them, flattening bodies into aerofoils, giving them lift, and propelling forward.
Powered Flight (06:01)
Spawning Flying Fish are approached by a predator; to escape, they leave the ocean. Their unique tails create momentum by beating water, while aerofoil pectoral fins generate lift until forces elevate them. Most animals gain air by flapping wings, requiring more energy than any other movement.
African Vultures capitalize on air motion to travel long distances in search of food; when plains warm, heat rises, creating flow and thermals. Massive wing spans generate great lift, while long tip feathers prevent drag, allowing flight with little flapping and highest altitudes reached by birds.
Credits: Defying Gravity (00:26)
Credits: Defying Gravity
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