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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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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.