Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Consider, if you will, the aerodynamics of a cow

Several years ago, Reddit discovered an image that showed the aerodynamics of a cow. There’s nothing much for the average person to take from this picture, though we imagine it may be of note to a very specific subset of engineers and farmers. Still, bovine aerodynamics have somehow remained a fascinating subject to the general public. The image, and others like it, reemerge at regular intervals, entrancing new viewers by posing and simultaneously answering the question of how, exactly, the movement of air is affected by having a big, placid, grass-munching animal is in its way.


And so, we are not surprised to report that the topic of cow aerodynamics has once again returned to captivate the world. This time, it’s thanks to @EveryDayCows, Twitter’s top source for “premium” daily cow updates. The account tweeted three pictures yesterday with no comment other than the accompanying sentence, “aerodynamics of a cow.”

Others chimed in with comparisons of cow, lobster, and Jeep Wrangler aerodynamics and mock-ups showing how a cow may fly more effectively if it had plane parts bolted onto its body. The most scientifically curious tweeted about the heat-mapped wind movement behind the cow’s butt. In one case, that area is appropriately labelled: “FART VORTEX.” No matter how people respond, the level of interest is clear. At the time of writing, the original tweet has been retweeted 17,300 times, quote tweeted 1,776 times, and racked up more than 110,000 likes.

It’s hard to know exactly why the aerodynamics of a cow continues to capture the hearts and minds of anyone who considers the subject. Maybe it’s because the images make it look like a cow has achieved supersonic speed while standing perfectly still. Maybe it’s because the human mind just wants to catalog everything in the world to better understand it. And maybe, more than anything else, we just think it’s nice to imagine a cow flying through the sky, udders swinging in the wind, so it can enjoy the feel of the rushing air against its dopey cow face.

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