What’s the secret behind a Boomerang?

Boomerang – a strange weapon or toy that returns back to the sender if it fails in destination. For tribal people, it is used as a hunting weapon as well as a music instrument. For common people, it’s used for sports as ‘Boomerang throw’ or sport fights. The reason why it catches everyone’s eye is the unique capability of returning back after travelling a long distance in circular motion exactly to the person who throws it. What is the secret behind a boomerang? Why does it return back?

This instrument was made 20K years ago and still used unaltered!

Unbelievable! According to historians boomerang was first used by Australian tribes and a boomerang obtained from Poland dated 20 thousand years ago. So, it’s sure it was developed by our ancient man observing principles of nature and clearly understanding the flow of wind. As they were very close to nature, they were skilled and also were successful to develop boomerang that resembles bird’s and airplane’s wings. Its discoverer is still unknown to the world, but it’s everyone’s favourite – old and young through Jungle Book or adventurous sports.  

The instrument made by ancient man before 20K years was a puzzle to modern science for some time. Boomerang made of wood has an average length of 30-60 cm and curve of 45-130 degrees. It rises up like a fountain, takes a turn and travels in the opposite direction to reach the sender. Boomerang was used by ancient men to hunt birds most. Seeing boomerang flying towards them, birds get frightened and hunters use this opportunity to throw net or wooden pieces to get them in trap. Ancient men believed that boomerang has some magical power and still now, even after 20K years it’s something like a mysterious object to most of us. Most astonishing fact is that boomerang has withstood the changes of time and no alterations have been made in its structure in the past 20K years!

Factors determining the path of a boomerang

Flight of boomerang depends on a lot of factors including direction of wind and its flow, the knowledge of the thrower, center of gravity of earth, the size of hunted animal, size and curve of boomerang and concentration. Felix Hess, a scientist in physics has written a theory on boomerang and the principles behind it.

Nature gave them first lessons

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. The invention of boomerang is the best example for this proverb. Ancient man used wood, stones and sharp edged materials to hunt animals. Through experiences he might have noted that flat wooden pieces with curved ends stay in air for a while. He also discovered that small flat stones if thrown in water in a peculiar way, they float on water without sinking. It paved way to flat wooden pieces and invention of boomerangs – historians believe so. Primitive man has also observed the structure of bird’s wing and its direction.

How does boomerang returns back to the sender? If it is thrown straight, it rises to atmosphere like a helicopter or fountain. If it is thrown reverse, its wings rotate at different speeds. This variation of speed of both ends takes a boomerang back to the sender. Ancient man thought that it was god’s magic. They didn’t know then, that this reverse weapon was the practical application of a complex principle of physics!

Ancient men used to draw pictures of animals or birds on boomerangs and draw strange pictures as well. They used boomerang to hunt rabbits and birds and for building their huts. It was used for entertainment purposes, spots and games too.  

Now boomerang is a sports item too

It’s still believed that Australia is the motherland of boomerang. Boomerang is still an interesting sport of Australian people. To throw something placed at a distance or return of boomerang travelling a long distance are the common games. Usually they used tribal costumes for this sport. But still now, it has not been accepted in Olympics games.

Image source: Wikipedia

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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