Flight is a concept that has, until relatively recently in history, eluded humanity. However, birds have been successfully flying for approximately 130 million years, proving themselves to be a physical marvel of the natural world. And while our means of flight have historically been crude in design and performance, nature provides an elegant, efficient solution to get creatures off of the ground. Rüppell’s griffon vultures have been recorded flying as high as 37,000 ft, while some species of shorebirds have been recorded flying as far as from Alaska to New Zealand over eight days without stopping. But how exactly do birds seem to effortlessly overcome gravity so effectively? And perhaps more importantly, how might we apply these answers to improve manmade aircraft?
Continue reading “Staying airborne: How bird wings are built for aerodynamic and efficient flight”
What do birds and washing machines have in common? Shockingly, it’s not the ability to wash clothes. Rather, most birds and washing machines are great examples of vibration isolation systems.
Continue reading “Which is more stable, washing machines or birds? The answer might surprise you”
Sailfish, or Istiophorus platypterus, are one of the most recognizable fishes in the ocean due to their large sail-like dorsal fin. But, did you know that they are also iconic because they are one of the fastest swimmers in the ocean?
Continue reading “Swimming Fast and Slow: What We Know About the Sailfish’s Iconic Fin”
What do hummingbirds and nectar bats have in common?
Continue reading “How do Hummingbirds and Nectar Bats Hover?”