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Great in the air, not so good underwater

Great in the air, not so good underwater
11:40 06 Dec 2006, NewScientist.com news service
Richard Fisher

Marine animals may trade off their swimming efficiency against flying ability, according to a novel study in which motion sensors were attached to wild seabirds, whales and penguins to reveal how they move underwater...

[Katsufumi] Satoâs team [University of Tokyo] found that the size-to-flap ratio does not apply to seabirds. Guillemots and razorbills use their wings for both flying and swimming, and underwater they stroke at a lower frequency than other seabirds of a similar size, such as penguins, suggesting inefficiency for their size...

(Proceedings of the Royal Society B (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0005))

Read more at:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10728-great-in-the-air-not-so-good-und erwater.html


I've never really bought the 'aquatic archaeopteryx' idea, and this study suggests that the different wing shapes and flight styles that are optimal for either air or water are very different. Increasingly efficient adaptations for an underwater flier tend to move away from aerial flight.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.soffiles.com