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  • Angels, fairies and dragons revisited: Did putti fly like bumblebees?

    By Jack Ashby, on 30 April 2014

    In 2011 our 15th Annual Robert Grant Lecture was given by UCL’s Professor Roger Wotton. It was called Zoology and mythology: looking at angels, fairies and dragonsĀ and explored the biological plausibility of these creatures based on their representations in art. Prof Wotton dissected (not literally, obviously) the anatomy that would be required for angels, fairies and dragons to fly. The lecture was amusing and illuminating – and we wrote about it at the time.

    Now, on his blog, Roger has returned to the subject to investigate something he couldn’t fit into the lecture – putti. Putti are the porky little naked boys with tiny wings. Many people might (inaccurately) call them cherubs. In his whimsical yet biological account, Wotton says…

    It is only possible to speculate on how putti fly, although their naked, often chubby bodies indicate that the generation of sufficient temperature is not a problem. (more…)

    Zoology and Mythology – Looking at Angels, Fairies and Dragons

    By Jack Ashby, on 25 November 2011

    Last week was the Grant Museum’s 15th Annual Robert Edmond Grant Lecture, in which the superb Professor Roger Wotton explored the world of mythical creatures. He applied Grant’s own science of comparative anatomy to see whether things like angels, fairies and demons could actually fly, biologically speaking.

    The science was solid, and – SPOILER ALERT – the answer was no. UCL Events blog reviewed the event in full, so you can read all about it there.

    Roger’s original article on the topic can be found here in the Telegraph