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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: I, Fishbot
21 February 2012 7:01 pm
Call it the swimming equivalent of hypermiling. A new study finds that fish will follow a robotic leader—but only if it makes their own journey easier. Hoping to better understand the structure of fish schools, researchers created a robotic fish—a big plastic body attached to a motorized tail that can move back and forth—and dunked it into a water tunnel alongside golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas), who regularly swim together in large groups. At first, when the robot's tail was motionless, the fish showed little interest in their plastic companion and swam where they wished. But as soon as the robot's tail began to beat back and forth, the fish fell in line, swimming in the wake formed by the flapping tail. Once in formation, the fish also slowed their own tailbeats a little, which suggests the robot leader's swimming eased the drag forces on the fish and made their own swimming more efficient. The results, published online today in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, may help scientists build a better robotic leader of fish, a device that could one day guide fish away from ecological disasters or other threats.
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