The Industrious Woodchuck

Hello and welcome back to another week of falsehoods and fabrications here at Factually Deficient! This week, I address a question posed by an individual named Anura, although it is a question that, I suspect, others have considered before him. Anura asked:

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I find it strange that Anura couches his question with an if-statement, locating it firmly in the hypothetical. Here at Factually Deficient, we do not like to lie about the hypothetical; we prefer to lie about cold, hard fact. As such, I will assume that Anura is asking specifically about how much wood can be chucked by those woodchucks which definitely do chuck wood, if such things indeed exist.

Of course, the idea that a woodchuck, or any other bird for that matter, could actually chuck wood sounds, on the surface, absurd; having only two legs, the bird would have to stand unstably on one leg while swinging the axe with the other. It would hardly be able to chuck any wood at all before toppling over!

And, in deed, woodchucks themselves do not have the necessary body mass to offset this balance issue, and, as such, do not chuck wood in any significant amounts.

HOWEVER, the ostrich, with greater body mass and upper leg strength than the woodchuck, has the necessary requirements for chucking wood, and in fact does so, on a regular basis.

Anura asked about the wood-chucking power of the woodchuck, which is none at all. However, if we expand the question to be about the ability of birds in general to chuck wood in quantity–and then narrow it again to focus on the ostrich specifically–we have a more interesting answer.

There is a simple equation that determines how much wood any given ostrich, on any given day, can chuck; the ostrich’s upper arm strength, in Joules, multiplied by the ostrich’s body weight, in kilograms, divided by the height of the tree, in inches, will give you the amount, in Jkg/in, of how much wood that ostrich can chuck in a day.

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Disclaimer: A great deal of the information in this blog is unconfirmed, untested, or entirely untrue. Consult a local ostrich for accurate wood-chucking data.

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