cow tipping myth | Mental Floss

When it comes to urban legends involving cattle, the cow tilting is perhaps the one that gets milked the most. As these accounts unfold, groups of intoxicated youths sometimes sneak onto farms and sneak past sleepy cows, using brute force to knock them down.

It’s unnecessary, cruel, and luckily for the cow, it’s not really a thing that happens.

Modern Farmer’s cattle-friendly people investigated these claims and found that they were largely unsupported by things one looks for in the justification of stories, such as physics, facts, and history. common sense.

The most glaring evidence against tipping cows is that cows don’t sleep upright. They settle on the stomach. Even then, cows only sleep about two hours a day, as their instincts have taught them that other species find them appetizing and should be on their guard.

Sneaking around on one is therefore not easy to achieve. And once you’re near a cow, no amount of frat guy beer will produce the force needed to knock down a 1,400-pound animal. Cows, although sometimes appearing as stationary objects, are able to shift their weight and balance to resist such attempts. It can take five or six people to create enough force moving fast enough to catch a cow by surprise and tip it over.

This theory was corroborated by a 2005 report from the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, which used mathematics to determine that it took a small army to move a resistant cow. Tracy Boechler, a student participating in the work, told The Register that “a cow 1.45 meters tall pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, which is the equivalent of of 4.43 people “. Good luck trying to get several drunk people to do this calculation on a napkin.

This does not mean that it is completely impossible. With enough people, some trick – like tying up a cow’s legs – and maybe a younger, lighter cow, maybe one or two student stuntmen have managed to knock over a cow. But it’s pretty hard to think of much of it as fiction.

So why has the myth persisted? Probably because he has an element of humor, even if he is misguided. Knocking down a cow in a drunken stupor has a sort of Other side quality, and sharing a story you’ve heard from a friend of a friend will likely cause someone to laugh. But the cows have the last word.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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