As someone who uses engineering algebra to approximate everything around me, I am generally quite happy to assume a horse is a sphere if it makes the math easier. My friend Phil recently sent me a journal article that does this to the extreme.
Here are a few of my favourite quotes:
“The maximum impact force and the resulting plastic strain are not merely governed by the size of the bird but also its density.”
“There are different hydrodynamic models which have been successfully used to describe the material properties of the bird in compression…”
“…the bird actually behaved like compressible nonlinear fluid, and this was further verified by high-speed photography studies.”
Holy shit snacks. What a messy field.