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Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements by Matt Wilkinson

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3

Leaps of Faith

In which we find out why evolving flight is so dreadfully difficult

                   The boy began to rejoice in his audacious flight

                   and deserted his leader, and drawn by a desire for the sky

                   he pushed his path higher. The nearness of the sun quickly

                   softens the fragrant waxes, the feathers’ binding;

                   the waxes have melted: he shakes his bare arms

                   but lacking wings he secures no air,

                   and shouting his father’s name his face

                   is swallowed by the azure water . . .

—Ovid, Metamorphoses

With that, Icarus’s brief flight is brought to an abrupt and permanent end in the Aegean Sea, to serve as a warning ...

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