1300 years ago
This small toy like model, about 2" in length and made of gold, was found in a tomb in Colombia. When first discovered it was called a zoomorph (animal looking). The object is on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Six other similar objects have been found in discovered in Venezuela and Peru, and Costa Rica.
Very little is mentioned of this object other than noting its novelty. Scientists simply labeled the artifact a flying bird, animal or insect. The Smithsonian Institutes display explanation reads, "gold artefact, a stylized insect, from the Quimbaya culture, Antioquia province, Colombia, ca. 1000-1500 AD".
This is a replica of a jet, airplane or shuttle. The mechanical features of the object suggest a sophisticated level of aerodynamics and construction. While the object is dated according to the area it was discovered does not mean that is when it was made. It may have been made at a much earlier time and then deposited in the tomb.
Dr. Ivan Sanderson, a scientist from the United States, studied the object and said it looked too mechanical, like an airplane, to be a natural object. J.A. Ulrich, an expert on aircraft, also looked at the object and admitted that it closely resembled a Swedish SAAB jet. In 1994, three Germans, Algund Eenboom, Peter Belting and Conrad Lübbers, decided to create a scale model of the "airplane". During their research they found that the object was much more like a modern space shuttle or the supersonic Concorde than an insect. The replica was completed in 1996 and was aerodynamically stable and flew. Another one was built with a jet engine added and it also flew.
Anyone looking at this without knowing its history will say it is a "plane". I don't think anyone would look at it for the first time and say "insect".
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