So dragonflies are the sky’s perfect predator, and while their are many adaptations that make this one big one is their wings. And one character in my story has these along with other mammalian versions of dragonfly/damselfly adaptations, but for this question I will just focus on the wings. So could a wing like this exist and work in a genetically modified human, and if not is their another way to do it?

So these wings are an extension of the rib cage with a membrane connecting them a lot like bat wings. They look like dragonfly wings and use powered flight similar to insects. There are four of them(two on each side) and they allow the person to fly just like a dragonfly and with the elegance of one.

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    $\begingroup$ A lot of strange things that insects can do are giant targets for the square-cube law or are otherwise unable to effectively scale up to anything near human size. Not an answer to your question, but it's something to keep in mind; the world we live in is devoid of human-sized insects (of any sort), and not because humans hunted them to extinction. $\endgroup$ – Palarran Apr 11 '18 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ What happens to the wings when your human dragonfly wants to walk or sit in a chair or sleep do things humans do? For example, how does he go into a house built for wingless people? $\endgroup$ – Real Subtle Apr 11 '18 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ @RealSubtle he will fold them around his chest like a bat $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 11 '18 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ You can't fold up a dragonfly wing; most you can do with it is let out the air and pump it full again when it is needed (real dragonflies cannot do that, btw). Bat wings are very different from insect wings, though. For one, they have bones and muscles down to their tips. Insects move their wings with muscles that only connect to the root of the wing. This couldn't be done with a full-sized human. I guess you could downsize your human to the size of a dragonfly but I doubt it could still be called human then (brain not large enough to think as a human). $\endgroup$ – Real Subtle Apr 11 '18 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @RealSubtle these aren't dragonfly wings though, they are made to look like them, they are still more like bat wings than anything else $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 11 '18 at 19:24

This seems really impossible, the only thing you could do to archieve something close to this are mechenical wings combined with a jetpack like thing. The jetpack would give you enough height and you could use the wings to glide.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is their any way that these things wouldn't be noticeable and just look like sustained dragonfly flight $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 11 '18 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ the only thing I can come up with is, fabric that is soft until they're charged with electricity. When they're charged they unfold. $\endgroup$ – Moonhorse96 Apr 11 '18 at 11:22


Dragonfly wings beat 30 times a second. Now try beating a 20 foot wing 30 times a second. It's not going to happen.

Dragonflies can get away with it because they're small. That method of flying fails to scale upwards. Once you get to large birds, they hardly flap at all and try to do most of their flying by gliding and riding thermals.

Next problem is humans. We have dense strong bones and heavy muscles which are not made for flying. Birds have light bones. Dragonflies have inflatable wings.

It can't ever happen. You might be able to engineer dragonfly wings on a human but they're never going to get airborne.

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    $\begingroup$ you can also add that the muscles would have to be so large there would not be enough room left in the torso for lungs. $\endgroup$ – John Apr 11 '18 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ Okay thanks, is their anyway that he could be doing something else to fly and have it look as if he us using sustained dragonfly flight $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 11 '18 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ @John well I could just remove some organ he won’t need (appendix, most of the pancreas, stomach, etc..) and squish the remaining organs together and then room can be made for the lungs, and maybe even shove the intestine in his tail, or just shrink it. $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 14 '18 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ you would be lucky to fit any organs in a torso with flight muscles capable of lifting a human, much less large ones like lungs. $\endgroup$ – John Apr 15 '18 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @John if eels can do it maybe my human can $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Apr 15 '18 at 15:41

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