I want my humans to have wings. Eight of them to be exact. I want eyeballs to cover their wings. How could this happen?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Is flight required? If so, do you need the eye-covered wings to be the actual source of the flight? What levels of technology are available? Basically, who or what is making these humans into appearing to be angels, and for what purpose? $\endgroup$
    – notovny
    Oct 2, 2020 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ by abandoning all laws of anatomy, physics, and aerodynamics. you are not getting anything closed to science based out of this question. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 2, 2020 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ Humans with wings are already hugely problematic - and that's before we even get to them flying. So, magic. That, or sufficiently advanced technology. $\endgroup$
    – void_ptr
    Oct 2, 2020 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ Winged humanoids are not at all problematic. There's no need to "abandon" any laws of physics or anatomy or just say "magic" and leave it at that (as if magic is just some catch-all that we call upon when faced with a question we think of as too silly to address). This is a good worldbuilding question, though a little sparse, and deserves every bit as much creativity, scientivity, and enthusiasm that we would put into a query of orbital mechanics. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Oct 2, 2020 at 13:02

3 Answers 3


Proud as a Peacock:

Rather than trying to justify there being functional eyeballs on functional wings on humans, I will narrow my focus, because there is not a lot of detail to the question. If feathers can exist like those on a peacock, with visible eye images, then you could have clusters of modified hair (feathers/hair/scales are all related) that recapitulate feathers. These feather-like structures could be attached to the arms/legs, or they could exist as independent clusters coming from the skin. Emblazoned on these "wings" are eyes like on a peacock's feathers.

Functionally, I don't think wing-like structures are going to be for flight in a human-like animal. Feather-like clusters could serve various functions, the most obvious being a sexual display like the peacock. Depending on how they lay across the body, they may act as a fan-like screen for sunlight (which might explain why there are so many "wings" to protect the skin) or they could be vasculated and serve a thermoregulatory function like that proposed for Dimetrodon. In literature, the wings of these angels are shown functionally like clothes, and perhaps they might serve as such to keep the angels warm, yet allow for cooling by moving away from the body. They could end in sharp points (even envenomed, if you wanted) so they would be a quilled defense mechanism. Or they might serve all these purposes.

From a biology standpoint, I think this is the most realistic design for actual 8-winged angels, and the beauty of peacock feathers seems to lend itself well to the image of an angelic being.


It's all in the nerves...

Vision is accomplished by a nervous protruberance from the brain, the optic nerves, which terminate at the retina. Beyond that, it's all pretty much mechanical: light enters the globe of the eye and strikes photoreceptive cells in the retina the proteins of which being excited by photons, trigger an electrical impulse in the nerves.

What is going on, I believe, in your world's multi "eyed" beings is that rather than just the two great optic nerves that serve the forward facing eyes, numerous other optic conduits have evolved in this species.

You can take a look at the embryological development of the eyes here:

enter image description here

What's going to be different is that your beings will have an optic trunk -- basically a third and fourth optic nerves -- that will run parallel to the main spinal cord. Branches, four in number will occur that lead distally along the each "wing". Aside: eyes and feathers don't get along well, so these winglike appendages will not likely be useful for flight in and of themselves.

Along the parallel optic trunks, numerous optic sulci develop that grow into eyelike structures. It's up to you whether muscles and irises and lenses develop. These eyes could very well be evolved to see wavelengths other than human visual range.

The basic anatomy would look like this:

enter image description here


I was going to give a similar answer to that of @DWKraus. I'll add a couple of things.

Your humans are very close to the "four living creatures" of Revelation 4 in the Bible.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within


enter image description here

The above is a closeup of the "eyes" on a peacock's wing. Notice how similar they are to those of a blue-eyed human or animal.


In your case it could be possible that travellers' tales had spread word of these peacocks. Maybe a traveller had seen a ceremony where someone had worn eight peacock feathers or that the traveller brought back some peacock feathers and myths grew up that they were "angel" feathers.

Or, of course, there could be real humans with these feathers as suggested by DWKraus.

Incidentally a flying peacock could easily be mistaken for a flying human https://youtu.be/ua4OSrbGJVg


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