Assume these homo super-dwarf aka fairy and homo sapiens come from a common ancestor, and somehow they evolved a pair of wings and can do vertical takeoff.

The average adult is approximately the size of a tennis ball and weights around 58g, they are mammal by the way so how can they hover at the same flower for up to thirty minutes?

I think they belong to specie Homo genus Nimis Parvus....

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think the tennis ball size can match up with both a weigth of 200g and hovering flight ability. Tennis balls have an diameter of ~6.5-7cm centimeters and a weigth of ~55-60g. Compare this to the largest hummingbird, which is almost 2x larger but still has less then half of that weigth (it can hover though). Anything with a weight of 200g and the size of a tennis ball, will have the flight capabilities of a tennis ball (i.e. only flies when hit with something). $\endgroup$ – Nicolai Mar 11 '19 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Nicolai: edited [just finished eating Mars chocolate bar] $\endgroup$ – user6760 Mar 11 '19 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ 58g and Mars bars; love it. Interestingly enough, this is the same company reputedly responsible for French honey bees making blue honey. So, the idea of hovering over flowers and mars bars being related has some irony to it. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Mar 11 '19 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ @TimBII: nice find👍 $\endgroup$ – user6760 Mar 11 '19 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ If there's no particular story based reason they have to be the size & weight you've given why not just reduce them to hummingbird size? any problems over the physics involved just goes away then, that may leave you with issues of how intelligent they can be of course but I think you already have those with the size & weight you're currently using. edit: Ah! I see @Nicolai already got there (more or less). $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 11 '19 at 14:23

They are a branch of the homo tree, but they ended up on a converging path together with bats.

Actually, there are bats which are known for eating nectar from flowers, for which hovering is a necessary ability.

Your specimens grew a membrane between their arms and body, exactly like bats did, and use it as wings.

  • $\begingroup$ Holly brocoli me, bats do hover! 👍 $\endgroup$ – user6760 Mar 11 '19 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ @user6760, ironically you have one in your own avatar.... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '19 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ @user6760 - It's not really an answer to your actual question but Project Tinkerbell more or less sums up the design "project" (for want of a better word) I'm referencing ~ not an exoskeleton no, just two wing surfaces, think dreadlocked hair matted together like felt, hammer it flat & stiff so it's essentially a very thin sheet of fingernail (which is made of keratin like hair), shape to taste & their's your wings, they should look much like an insects, the ribs & muscles are reformed to provide "joint action" & motive power. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 11 '19 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @user6760 ^ All achieved by evolution or selective breeding of course (I'm not suggesting you use hair extensions & manually manipulate them to achieve the effect) with maybe a little help from gene splicing here & there ~ the referenced "article" (again, for want of a better word) goes with mice as the original breeding stock but the principle holds equally well starting with humans (or a human ancestor) breeding small then going with this. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 11 '19 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ ^ Their wingless slightly larger ancestors (or alternatively a close relation evolved from a common ancestor) would of course be "Pixies". $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 11 '19 at 15:15

Fairies could develop flight along similar lines to bats. They would evolve patagia (membranous skin) stretched from their arms to their sides and use these as "parachutes", slowing their fall as they jumped from trees. Eventually, they'd learn to flap and cover distance as they fell, until they ended up with the ability of powered flight.

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Keeping with the bat idea, there are hovering bats - they're called nectar bats, genus Lonchophylla, and there are 8 species. They do this by continually twisting their wings backward as they bring them up, keeping a constant flow of air downward to keep them in place. Them and hummingbirds are the only vertebrates which can perform hovering.

Now, normally, a 58-gram placental mammal would only need to consume about 47 kilocalories a day, according to my calculations. However, hovering flight is so energy-expensive that - based on hummingbirds - your fairies would have to eat more like 85 kilocalories a day. The main consequence of this is that they probably wouldn't be able to fuel an intelligent brain.

To summarize; your fairies would probably look a lot like fruit bats more than anything else, and they probably wouldn't be as intelligent as humans. Maybe crow-level intelligence, tops. Hope this answers your question satisfactorily.


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