BREACHING WHALE: Whales' surface behaviors consist of lunging, porpoising, spyhopping, lobtailing, and breaching, among others. When a whale breaches, at least 40 percent of its body comes out of the water, making it momentarily airborne. Right, Humpback, and Sperm whales breach the most. A 40 ton whale seen here crashed into a South African couple's yacht on July 18. Newscom
FLYING DONKEY: On July 9, a donkey flew over a Russian resort in Golubitskaya. The donkey was attached to a parachute and soared over the beaches on the Sea of Azov in a failed PR stunt by an area resort to promote their parasailing. Taman News/AFP/Newscom
FLYING SQUIRREL: Flying squirrels, though they are unable to maintain sustained flight, can glide through the air for nearly 300 feet. Flying squirrels change direction and glide through the air with their arms and legs, which changes the tautness of a parachute-like membrane that extends over its body called a patagium. Their furry tail stabilizes them in flight and helps to slow the animal down before it lands. Here a Northern flying squirrel glides through the night. Newscom
FLYING FISH: Flying fish can leap out of the water and take short flights over the surface, typically for 160 feet or for as long as 45 seconds. Some can travel as fast as 43 miles per hour.The fish has unusual pectoral fins that it spreads and tilts slightly upward to liftoff out of the water. If there are updrafts from waves, some flying fish can fly 1,200 feet. The fish's ability to fly out of the water and glide over the surface has allowed it to escape and hide from predators. Here, a flying fish glides over the Timor Sea near Australia. Luther Bailey/Solent News/Splash News/Newscom
BATS: Bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight. Their forelimbs have webbing and developed as wings. The membranes between their "fingers" make for a thinner wing that allows them to fly faster and maneuver more quickly than birds. Newscom
PANDAS: In January, four-year-old panda Tai Shan flew FedEx to Chengdu, China, for a breeding program. Pandas are native to China, so in order to appear in zoos such as Washington, DC's National Zoo, they have to fly. FedEx also flew Tai Shan's parents to the National Zoo in 2000. Here, Tai Shan's plane, the "FedEx Panda Express," takes off from Washington. Newscom
BREACHING SHARKS: A great white shark leaps completely out of the water to grab its prey at Seal Island's False Bay in South Africa in March. It is one of the few places in the world that great whites are known to fly out of the water. Their time in the air can last as little as a second. Geoff Spiby/Newscom
MONKEYS: A monkey named Multik rests in the cabin of a Russian Soyuz-U spacecraft prior to launch from Plesetsk, Russia, on a mission called Bion-11 in 1996. Monkeys were some of the first animals flown into space. They were studied to see what the biological effects of space travel would be for astronauts. Newscom/FILE
SUGAR GLIDERS: Like flying squirrels, sugar gliders cannot sustain flight. Sugar gliders are marsupials also have a patagium, or the parachute-like membrane that helps them glide. They can soar from about 80-450 feet and change direction by changing the curvature of the patagium with their legs and tail. Here, a sugar glider is wrapped in a towel by a veterinarian during a physical in Dunedin, Fla. Newscom/FILE
SALMON: Salmon swim upstream to spawn, occasionally flying out of the water. Here, a duck meets a fish in mid-air. The salmon flew out of the water in Issaquah Creek near Seattle, Wash. when it encountered a mallard. WENN.com/Newscom
'Bird Man' Jarno Smeets became an Internet sensation when he posted a video of himself apparently taking flight with a pair of flapping wings. He subsequently admitted that the video was fake.
ByNatalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries
A Dutch man named Jarno Smeets became an Internet sensation this week after posting a video on YouTube in which he appears to fly like a bird. In the video, he straps on a contraption that supposedly syncs the motion of his flapping arms to that of a huge pair of wings made of kite fabric, allowing him to flap the wings and take off into the air.