In case you haven't noticed, it can get windy in Wyoming.

Most cows will go looking for a low place to hide when it gets really bad.

Those who can't will just put their face into the wind.

That makes me wonder, what is the aerodynamics of a cow?

You might think there's a lot of drag on that fat body.

But there's not as much as you might think.

The video below will show you what I'm talking about.

This is a computer simulation of airflow over a cow that has its nose pointed into the wind.

The nose and mouth are perfect for cutting into those strong Wyoming gusts.

It's the head that causes some turbulence over the back.

But if the cow tilted it's head down and brought it's nose up then there would be perfect airflow down the back.

Four legs on the ground make for a lot of drag. But they are thin legs, so it's not so bad.

Let's have a look at another simulation that lets us see what is happening to the air farther downwind from the cow.

As you can see the turbulence created really doesn't last that long, once it gets past the tail.

So a cow pointed nose into the wind is not a good windbreak, in the long term.


There will be a test, later, so I hope you're taking notes.

What is surprising is how many videos of this there are online.

Why have so many people thought to make computer simulations of airflow over cows?

Is this what college kids do with their time?


So, what have we learned here?

Despite what you might have thought, cows are pretty streamlined.

If they point into the wind they run almost zero chance of being blown over by the worst gusts that Wyoming has to offer.

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