Item #: SCP-2008
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: All instances of SCP-2008 are to be rotated between two standard 4000m2 containment paddocks on Site-██. Each animal has been fitted with a tracking collar and an electrical shock device connected to the paddock's wireless fence system. SCP-2008 are permitted a maximum flight altitude of 4km. Any instances moving outside of this range are to be intercepted and forced to land via their shock devices. SCP-2008 is to be fed standard bovine feed. To minimize the risk of containment breaches, the diets of instances of SCP-2008-1 are to be monitored and controlled in order to ensure that they cannot build up an adequate fuel supply. Test personnel must liaise with Site aerospace control to ensure that SCP-2008 and 2008-1 flight testing does not interfere with local Foundation air and suborbital traffic.
Description: SCP-2008 is an anomalous subspecies of Bos taurus africanus (Sanga cattle) which possesses a variable-geometry skeleton, an extremely efficient digestive system, and a naturally occurring ramjet propulsion system powered by digestive byproducts. All instances of SCP-2008 are capable of flight. SCP-2008 are externally similar to the Ankole-Watusi subspecies, with the exception of an elongated, streamlined facial structure, a nictating membrane over the eyes, flattened, wing-shaped horns, and greatly expanded skeletal muscles around the base of the skull and neck. The skeletal structure of the animals is distinguished by a series of cartilaginous joints around the rib cage, scapulae and pelvis which allow the legs to be retracted flush against the body and permit the animal's torso and chest to flatten into a winglike shape. Wind-tunnel testing of SCP-2008 instances reveal that their bodies generate more lift than they should mathematically be capable of, even when distorted into an optimal lifting shape. SCP-2008 instances possess a heavily-reinforced serpentine jaw structure which can, in flight, be expanded to form a functional ram-type air intake that leads directly on to an oversized trachea.
The reticulum1 of instances of SCP-2008 extends along the length of the animal, and is equipped with a series of valved airways connecting it to the lungs, as well as an extended combustion chamber leading directly to the anus. The reticulum and anal cavity are coated with a thick, highly heat-resistant mucus which ablates under high temperatures and is gradually refreshed during the process of digestion. The SCP-2008 digestive system extracts purified methane from its feed, and stores it in a compressed state in a series of bladders attached to the reticulum. Pressure testing of these bladders show them to be able to withstand internal pressures of more than ████MPa. At the base of the throat is a small gland containing a previously-unknown species of symbiotic bacteria, which generate [DATA EXPUNGED], an extremely pyrophoric compound.
SCP-2008 achieve lift by running at high speeds while hyperventilating, a process which seems to pump air into the reticulum. The throat gland is then contracted and the gas bladders opened, which triggers combustion and the rapid release of exhaust gasses through the anus. Once sufficient thrust has been achieved, the animal will cease hyperventilating and distend its jaw, using intake air to fuel the reaction. While in-flight, SCP-2008 use their horns to generate pitch, yaw and roll. This, combined with their limited field of binocular vision, often results in a distinctive 'weaving' flight pattern. The fastest recorded airspeed for an instance of SCP-2008 is 14,332 km/h, during which [REDACTED] dead spin and subsequent impact, resulting in the death of the subject.
Of the 43 instances of SCP-2008 currently known to exist, three are instances of SCP-2008-1. Instead of ramjets, the reticula of SCP-2008-1 form simple scramjets2. SCP-2008-1 instances are significantly smaller in size than SCP-2008 , and tend to be darker-coloured. Their jaws are thickened and the skin of the mouth reinforced with 'ribs' of bone, apparently to assist with extreme pressures and friction at high speeds. The horns are significantly shorter and thinner, and the hair naturally grows into thick mats which assists in insulation and minimizing the damaging effects of air friction. Instead of siphoning off breathing air from their intakes while in-flight, SCP-2008-1 possess several areas of oxygen-permeable tissue around the eyes and nose, which permits them to absorb breathing air from their surroundings. SCP-2008-1 lack the capacity for independently-launched flight. Instead, they will attach themselves via a series of small, keratinous hooks on their forelegs and chests to the backs of a pair of SCP-2008, using the flight speeds of the other instances to generate enough intake pressure for independent flight. SCP-2008-1 are capable of limited suborbital flight.
Addendum: As of █/█/1994, fully-functional aerodynamic models of the propulsive structures of SCP-2008 and 2008-1 have been developed. Computer testing reveals that SCP-2008 should not be able to generate the levels of thrust exhibited, and that, in fact, the levels of pressure and airflow needed for SCP-2008 to achieve flight should cause catastrophic internal structural failure within seconds of combustion being initiated. Research is ongoing.