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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Ideal Fish Shape? You're Looking at It
27 March 2012 7:01 pm
A quick lesson for those stuck in underwater traffic jams: Don't honk at the fish in front of you. It's probably going as fast as it can. Bluefin tuna (shown) and river trout may be known for their sleek contours, but why these animals evolved their unique shapes, including their pointed snouts and tapered tails, has been a mystery. In other words, are they built for speed or some other consideration? In a study published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers turned to computer-simulated swimmers for an answer. The team started with generic-looking fish complete with working muscles, and then played evolution. The group watched what happened to those cartoonish shapes when they balanced two goals: Swimming fast and saving energy while doing so. And, sure enough, those hydrodynamic considerations created fish that actually resembled real fish. So don't expect fish to speed up any time soon. These animals have evolved to be the best swimmers they can be.
See more ScienceShots.