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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Sign, General Motors
QUOTATION: According to the theory of aerodynamics, as may be readily demonstrated through wind tunnel experiments, the bumblebee is unable to fly. This is because the size, weight and shape of his body in relation to the total wingspread make flying impossible. But the bumblebee, being ignorant of these scientific truths, goes ahead and flies anyway—and makes a little honey every day.
ATTRIBUTION: Sign in a General Motors Corporation plant.—Ralph L. Woods, The Businessman’s Book of Quotations, pp. 249–50 (1951).

“Antoine Magnan, a French zoologist, in 1934 made some very careful studies of bumblebee flight and came to the conclusion that bumblebees cannot fly at all! Fortunately, the bumblebees never heard this bit of news and so went on flying as usual.”—Ross E. Hutchins, Insects, p. 68 (1968). Magnan’s 1934 work was Le Vol des Insectes (vol. 1 of La Locomotion Chez les Animaux).