It turns out the butterflies had the aerodynamics right:
The fluttery flight of butterflies has so far been somewhat of a mystery to researchers, given their unusually large and broad wings relative to their body size. Now researchers have studied the aerodynamics of butterflies in a wind tunnel. The results suggest that butterflies use a highly effective clap technique, therefore making use of their unique wings. This helps them rapidly take off when escaping predators…
The wings colliding was described by researchers almost 50 years ago, but it is only in this study that the theory has been tested on real butterflies in free flight. Until now, the common perception has been that butterfly wings are aerodynamically inefficient, however, the researchers suggest that the opposite is actually true.Lund University, “Butterfly wing clap explains mystery of flight” at ScienceDaily
Either butterflies are smarter than we think or there is an intelligence behind nature. Every time something is claimed to be inefficient, it turns out the opposite is true.
The study is open access.
Hat tip: Philip Cunningham