How do dolphins swim?

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Dolphins swim by exerting minimum effort, according to a new study. This finding overturns an 80-year-old paradox that argues dolphins are not designed for swimming.

By using bubbles in a pool, researchers have concluded that swimming dolphins generate thrust quite easily and have no need to compensate for their supposedly underpowered muscles. To show this, researchers filmed the animals swimming through a curtain of tiny air bubbles. The frame-to-frame shifts in bubble position let the researchers work out how much thrust the dolphins produced.

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Image courtesy of Rob Shenk, CC BY-SA 2.0

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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