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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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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.