Study Finds Formula for All Animal Movementthe daily dish
Texas A&M University researchers have discovered a physics formula that explains all animal movement. The formula applies to insects, birds, fish, mammals and everything between.
Despite the various shapes and components of animals' bodies, they all move in essentially the same way.
"We found insects, birds, bats, whales, fish, dolphins, even smaller mollusks are all using the same basic mechanics," said marine biologist Nathan Johnson.
Researchers hope this discovery will shed light on the evolution of various species. Their abilities to adapt to nature could lead scientists to new forms of human engineering.
"The best reason we can think that these similarities are there in nature is that they are the most energy efficient," Johnson said.
While humans struggle to improve aircraft designs, flying animals use their own bodies effortlessly. The study found that animals all flex their fins, tails or wings within a range of 30 to 60 degrees. For now, human-engineered vehicles cannot replicate this flexibility.
"Until now, we have been able to observe animals using flexible wings or fins but we haven't known anything about how flexible a successful wing might need to be," Johnson said.
"The goal is to make it easier than it was before to work out how designs should function. So this research can be used in future designs," Johnson said.
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