What Makes a Boomerang Come Back? (And Inventing the Frisbee) | Summary and Q&A

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January 6, 2020
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What Makes a Boomerang Come Back? (And Inventing the Frisbee)

TL;DR

Boomerangs have been used for hunting and sport for thousands of years, and their unique design allows them to return when thrown correctly.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How were non-returning boomerangs used for hunting?

Non-returning boomerangs were used to hit small game animals, and even larger animals like kangaroos or emus, to injure them for easier hunting.

Q: Did returning boomerangs have a functional purpose in hunting?

Returning boomerangs were most likely used for sport rather than hunting, as there is little evidence to support the idea that they were used for flushing game.

Q: How do boomerangs work?

Boomerangs work by manipulating air pressure and creating lift. The curved top surface of the wings creates lower air pressure, causing lift, while the curved bottom surface creates higher air pressure.

Q: How do you throw a boomerang to make it return?

To make a boomerang return, you need to throw it somewhat vertically with one wing pointed up. As it spins through the air, the top wing generates more lift, causing the boomerang to fly in a curved path back to the thrower.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Boomerangs were first used for hunting, carved from mammoth tusks and designed for straight flight and long air time.

  • Returning boomerangs were likely used for sport and not hunting, as they don't have a functional purpose in catching animals.

  • Boomerangs work by manipulating air pressure and creating lift, with the design of the wings and the thrower's technique playing important roles.

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