ScienceDaily (June 26, 2009) — We can only marvel at the way that dolphins, whales and porpoises scythe through water. Their finlike flippers seem perfectly adapted for maximum aquatic agility. However, no one had ever analysed how the animals’ flippers interact with water; the hydrodynamic lift that they generate, the drag that they experience or their hydrodynamic efficiency. Laurens Howle and Paul Weber from Duke University teamed up with Mark Murray from the United States Naval Academy and Frank Fish from West Chester University, to find out more about the hydrodynamics of whale and dolphin flippers.
- Weber, P. W., Howle, L. E., Murray, M. M. and Fish, F. E. Lift and drag performance of odontocete cetacean flippers. J. Exp. Biol., 212, 2149-2158