So, I don't believe that the "angelic" type winged human can exist (y'know, the kind with the feathery wings sprouting from the back). Too many problems of anatomy, weight, etc. But I am trying to create something where the humanoid is winged, but with a more plausible anatomy.

Added to which: I'm creating a microgravity habitat where humanoids have developed wings to fly there (I don't know the exact amount of microgravity as compared to the gravity of Earth but very low), with air composition and density to match Earths atmosphere.

Here's a drawing of what I imagine (better art work forthcoming):

enter image description here

The wings are not feathery, but more fleshy with cartilaginous joints like those seen in these x-rays of animals.

The base of a cats tail: enter image description here

Or this:

enter image description here

That being the case, maybe the wings could even do what the tail of this animal is doing:

enter image description here

So the appendages/"wings" are connected to the body the same way that a cats tail is connected to a cat or that lizard, can move about in many different ways, and can flap to propel the humanoid through the air of this microgravity environment.

Say we hand wave the possibility of how these humanoids developed this way (extra love if you tackle that), do you think this anatomy could work to give them flight in this environment?

p.s. In the drawing I made one hand webbed, and the other not, to ask if it would make difference either way, though I've kind've decided against it myself.

p.s.s. I also took some inspiration from this (in terms of the wings):

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the great drawing! Actually, perhaps with stronger gravity, i.e. denser atmosphere. On a side note, I fail to see the muscles with which they could flap the hip wings $\endgroup$
    – NofP
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Wings are always a muscle problem, where do you put them. Humans keep most arm muscles on the torso where it takes up all the space. What is your solution here? $\endgroup$
    – Andrey
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @NofP, thanks. Answer: Small muscles lined throughout the wings themselves. Individually they may be weak, but acting together they make the wings coil and unfurl with what I imagine is quite a bit of force. Also the shoulders in particular will more muscular than in our bodies. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrey. Please see my answer above to NofP. Possible? And thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ Anything on the feet or lower legs and hands and arms would effectively hinder the usefulness of those limbs, so avoid that IMO. And I'm not sure you need so much wing in microgravity - wings are for lift and you don't need it, all you need is directional control. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


I would keep the hands without webbing. Otherwise your humanoid will have issues working with tools (etc). I like the choice of adding lots of extra limbs.

On the whole I'd say this is one of the more sane winged humanoid designs:

  • It looks well enough balanced to be potentially flyable.
  • Your choice of cartilage for the wing "ribs" is a very good one because it helps prevent fragility. I'd forgo bones entirely and go just for cartilage - like a humans nose. In micro gravity with low friction, I imagine a winged humanoid could travel quite fast, and normal bones would be two brittle to survive a collision. In micro-g it doesn't need to support the humans weight, and bones would just add extra mass.
  • Similarly, the winglets on the feet would give good flight control over pitch - particularly if the legs are kept separate (which I think they are? I'm not quite sure).

That said, I'd be concerned about:

  1. Muscle Mass. This isn't an issue if you are in zero or really-really tiny gravity, but I don't see this design working out in anything more than 1% G. There simply aren't muscles powerful enough. This is particularly an issue for the hip wings, but maybe those are just for more base guidance than for propulsion.

  2. Still has feet - despite the fact they would never be able to use them. I'd say the bones would be merged into the foot-wing-part rather than kept distinct. Still keep the two legs to provide flight control, but the feed are likely redundant. Some ankle-joint rework may also be required to give sufficient up elevator to pull out of dives (not that a dive really exists in micro-g)

  3. Face direction. I expect a winged humanoid to look in it's primary direction of travel. So the neck or skull may have to be redesigned to loop in the "upwards" (of a normal human) direction a bit more. Try looking vertically for a couple hours and you'll have a very stiff neck....

On the whole, I'd say this is a pretty sane design, as well as a rather pretty picture. Also, I'd call them "sails" rather than "wings" but that's just personal preference.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sails... I like that. As for some of the other suggestions/critiques... I did think of some of those things, and other no to so much, so thanks for bringing them up. For example: face direction- yeah you're right. Muscle mass: I didn't want to overdo it, but yeah they'd have to be particularly muscular in the shoulders. Lets say this humanoid species is somewhere in the middle of the process of evolving from human as we know it to something that would live strictly in that microgravity habitat. Its not done evolving to that stage yet. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Len The muscular issue might not really be that big a deal. The shoulder sails will probably be driven by beefy back muscles and some pecs (move your shoulders around and feel what's pulling). Without the need to walk on feet much, or at least the need for a lot of strength to do it, all the muscular real estate of a typical humanoid's big ass butt is available for the hip sails. Finally calves handle the feet sails. Your pic is pretty much good to go imo. $\endgroup$
    – MParm
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 4:18

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