The Great Mambo Chicken

Last modified on July 7th, 2006

While I was reading about the “science” behind Superman tonight, I found this article on chickens. Funny.

There was the hyper-G work done on chickens, for example, by
Arthur Hamilton ("Milt") Smith in the 1970s.  Milt Smith was a gravity
specialist at the University of California at Davis who wanted to find
out what would happen to humans if they lived in greater-than-normal
G-forces.  Naturally, he experimented on animals, and he decided that
the animal that most closely resembled man for this specific purpose
was the chicken.  Chickens, after all, had a posture similar to man's:
they walked upright on two legs, they had two non-load-bearing limbs
(the wings), and so on.  Anyway, Milt Smith and his assistants took a
flock of chickens -- hundreds of them, in fact -- and put them into
the two eighteen-foot-long centrifuges in the university's Chronic
Acceleration Research Laboratory, as the place was called.

They spun those chickens up to two-and-a-half Gs and let them
stay there for a good while.  In fact, they left them spinning like
that day and night, for three to six months or more at a time.  The
hens went around and around, they clucked and they cackled and they
laid their eggs, and as far as those chickens were concerned that was
what ordinary life was like: a steady pull of two-and-a-half Gs.  Some
of those chickens spent the larger portion of their lifetimes in that
goddamn accelerator.

Well, it was easy to predict what would happen.  Their bones
would get stronger and their muscles would get bigger--because they
had all that extra gravity to work against.  A total of twenty-three
generations of hens was spun around like this and the same thing
happened every time.  When the accelerator was turned off, out walked

These chronically accelerated fowl were paragons of brute
strength and endurance.  They'd lost excess body fat, their hearts
were pumping out greater-than-normal volumes of blood, and their
extensor muscles were bigger than ever.  In consequence of all this,
the high-G chickens had developed a three-fold increase in their
ability to do work, as measured by wingbeating exercises and
treadmill tests

I’m stuck with this image of a spinning chicken stuck in my head now. On another note, I saw An Inconvenient Truth tonight. That’s a scary, shocking movie about global warming. I’m changing all my lightbulbs this weekend, and planting a few trees. I don’t want to die.