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A boomerang is a flying tool with a curved shape used as a weapon or for sport. Although it is usually thought of as a wooden device, modern boomerangs used for sport are often made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastics or other high-tech materials. Historically, boomerang-like devices have also been made from bones. Boomerangs come in many shapes and sizes depending on their geographic or tribal origins and intended function. The most recognisable type is the returning boomerang, which is a throwing stick that travels in an elliptical path and returns to its point of origin when thrown correctly. A returning boomerang has uneven arms or wings, so that the spinning is lopsided to curve the path. Although non-returning boomerangs throw sticks (or kylies) were used as weapons, returning boomerangs have been used primarily for leisure or recreation. Returning boomerangs were also used as decoy birds of prey, thrown above long grass in order to frighten game birds into flight and into waiting nets. Modern returning boomerangs can be of various shapes or sizes as can be seen in the diagram of modern Boomerangs to the right of page.

Historical evidence also points to the use of non-returning boomerangs by the ancient Egyptians, Native Americans of California and Arizona, and inhabitants of southern India for killing birds and rabbits.[1] Indeed, some boomerangs were not thrown at all, but were used in hand to hand combat by Indigenous Australians.[2]

Boomerangs can be variously used as hunting weapons, percussive musical instruments, battle clubs, fire-starters, decoys for hunting waterfowl, and as recreational play toys. The smallest boomerang may be less than 10 centimetres (4 in) from tip to tip, and the largest over 180 centimetres (6 ft) in length.[3] Tribal boomerangs may be inscribed and/or painted with designs meaningful to their makers. Most boomerangs seen today are of the tourist or competition sort, and are almost invariably of the returning type.


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