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Winged People Anatomy: Bone Structure.

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By Blue-Hearts   |   
Published: August 3, 2013
© 2013 - 2020 Blue-Hearts
You'll probably need to download to look at it properly.

Nice new clean bones here,

This is just kinda how I think it would work (shhh people who want to say "But its not possibleeeee" I'm drinking Rum-Redbull and its not meant to be a biology report, its fantasy/sci-fi). Where the wings are on backs always annoys me and how it would work also annoys me too because skeletons are weird. I like drawing bones and wings. But I get irritated when it makes no sense.
I have been doing a lot of studying, research and talking to actual doctors and physiotherapists who understand anatomy and asking for their opinions. Also done one for the muscles and wings themselves which i'll have up soon.

- Modified scapulae means anchorage for wing bones, no second set lower down needed. Wings not directly on top of the shoulders, just below.
- Extended sternum becomes a keel for more muscle attachments.
- Rib-barbs keep ribs together and stop over expansion
- Wing bones used are those of a Bald Eagle, different birds will have different bone proportions to this. Also this is an average male skeleton, female bones would be almost identical with the exceptions of things that make them female (pelvic bones, shoulder breadth, skull shape etc)
- This is all theoretical opinion. Skeletal structures are different to muscle and flesh.

FYI this is not specifically for angels or Maximum Ride, so lets leave the 2% stuff to one side, its scientifically stupid and badly explained.
Bones, Anatomy Ref from , medical books, doctors, various sources of photos and ornithological books and diagrams.
Image size
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anonymous's avatar
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flashbranson's avatar
flashbransonHobbyist Writer
could this and the muscle image
flashbranson's avatar
flashbransonHobbyist Writer
sorry, typo
GothicRavenGoddess's avatar
GothicRavenGoddessHobbyist General Artist
Oh I love this! It looks fantastic :)
ElSqiubbonator's avatar
Why not make the wings like those of a pterosaur? Then you would have just one finger supporting a membrane of skin and leaving the others free to act as manipulators. 
Cloudy-dragons's avatar
Cloudy-dragonsStudent General Artist
Wow, you put a lot of thought into this, it seems! It makes sense; I always can imagine myself with wings on my SHOULDERS, not back, like a lot of people seem to think (and also thinking all they need is wings on their back, start to flap, and then they'll fly... Good luck getting off the ground-)
I wonder what the physiology of webbed, demonic, or dragon-like wings would be like, compared to feathered wings...
CATMONKEY1992's avatar
Here I am seeing that you include the hollow bones. But still the creature has flesh, muscles. I would weigh too much, I could only plan; Such as alvatros, who must climb to high altitude sites to launch and fly while planning. Unfortunately he could not be standing on the ground flinging himself flying as if he could do a dove, for example.
Pixel-Penguin-dA's avatar
Pixel-Penguin-dAHobbyist General Artist
Stupid question, but would the muscles around the scapula would remain similar? If not, how do you think they would change?
I'm no anatomy expert and this is one of the best tutorial for angels I've come across, but I personally would get more out of it with more understanding of how the muscles would play a part in this. Simply because that's how my brain is. I'm not saying you did anything wrong, you didn't, this is more of a personal thing. Thank you for understanding.
This is an amazing tutorial and I thank you for making it!
Blue-Hearts's avatar
Blue-HeartsHobbyist Digital Artist
I did do a muscles theory for it it's pretty old though and will probably get updated and remade lateron. Muscles across the back, beneathe and around the scapulae, and chest, would definitely change and do make up a huge part of anatomy.
hunny888's avatar
hunny888Professional Filmographer
this winged anatomy helped me in 3d modeling
thanks for that 
0fTheWind's avatar
0fTheWindStudent General Artist
Thank you so much for this, it's incredibly helpful! I do want to ask though, if you might know - what happens if someone with wings doesn't have a tail? Is there a way that they could learn to fly with wings and no tail?
TheWizard9333's avatar
Everything has a tail. Or at least a tailbone. Humans have it, although we don't have long tails. It's a sign of mutation. The tails we once had became no longer useful, making them slowly shrink and eventually disappear. All that's left now is a couple welded vertebrae making up the "tailbone".
0fTheWind's avatar
0fTheWindStudent General Artist
I see, thank you.
Wana-witch's avatar
Thanks for this tutorial! This helps me a lot! 
I am writing a SF novel about winged man, so I was wondering, does climber have good predispositions to become winged, becaouse of its muscular structure and other body adaptations for climbing activities? 
Also, if the wings start to appier in human adult age, on the scapula as you said, what would be like the proces of wings growing? And how long would it takes?
And one more question: what would be the illness that winged humans might have?
Thanks ahead!
Blue-Hearts's avatar
Blue-HeartsHobbyist Digital Artist
I think a lot of it comes down to your own imagination and the tone you want to set with it, and if you want to keep it as 'realistic' as possible for what could happen or just suspend disbelief entirely and have anything goes. Do you want to be clean and clinical with everything happening neatly and with no trouble, or do you want the full slow agony of waiting and having these new limbs being super sensitive to everything and being a pain to move until he grows into them?

Depending on the level and upper body strength of the climber, then yes they could potentially have the strength for pulling and rotating the wings, with room to gain extra muscle for whatever you need to add onto them, as for the growing part then that's down to how you want to write it. Think broken bones regrowing and rejoining, torn muscles and ligaments, and how sensitive all the nerves must be to everything since they've not had the same sensory experience that you'd have grown up with if they had been there from birth. I'd research animals that already regenerate limbs like axolotls, and what is needed for them to regrow them and the process of how human bodies heal themselves, and if it's set in the wilderness check what kind of illnesses you can get from being out in the wild like from ticks and infections from open wounds, pneumonia, bird-flu, etc etc. respiratory illnesses would be murder on them.
Wana-witch's avatar
Thanks for this huge answer.
Well, the idea is that during the climbing climber falls and some radioactive stone gets into spine and doctors cannot move it because climber will be dead if they do that. So he has to feel changes by time, as you said, full slow agony. And because of the stone in the spine, he cant move legs. 
DragonHunter748's avatar
Theoretically, it could be possible according to DNA's ability to mutate.
Twippywippy's avatar
This is brilliant. Why have we never seen any such studies done for the angels in the Renaissance?
Jabber-Wock's avatar
The major problem I can see is with center of gravity. We're meant to be upright, so, would the wings be able to shift the balance?

I'm just asking out of curiousity. This sort of thing is really fascinating to me :P
Blue-Hearts's avatar
Blue-HeartsHobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, the wings would shift the center of gravity, and completely change any relaxed posture to be a little hunched with the knees a little bent (depending on how much weight they've got on their backs) to compensate the same way a person would if they're carrying a heavy backpack.
SadorCon's avatar
Carp, this is perfect.
I've been writing a set of fantasy stories featuring species evolved from humans, one of them having wings and tri-jointed legs.
I've done a lot of theory work on how their body structure might work, but seeing this puts it into a totally different perspective. I didn't consider for example, how it may be better for the wings to sprout from the scapulae, rather than for them to have their own anchorage lower on the spine.

I'll definitely be referring to these for the future.
clumsydemonwithfire's avatar
clumsydemonwithfire General Artist
Ahhh!!! Thank you for sharing this!!! This is so helpful on so many levels!!!! :squee:
alexbirzu's avatar
alexbirzuHobbyist Traditional Artist
i wish i could've had i can fly in the blue sky...but we can't ;_;
blueinkblot's avatar
This is awesome! Just a question - would the avian's whole body have the lightened bones? Just the shoulders? Just the wings?
Blue-Hearts's avatar
Blue-HeartsHobbyist Digital Artist
Pretty much all of them, some of the bones might be thinner rather than hollow but it'll make them denser and stronger (most likely those where any red marrow is). 
anonymous's avatar
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