Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Unified Physics Theory Explains Animals' Running, Flying And Swimming'

DukeNews reports

A single unifying physics theory can essentially describe how animals of every ilk, from flying insects to fish, get around, researchers at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and Pennsylvania State University have found. The team reports that all animals bear the same stamp of physics in their design.

The researchers show that so-called "constructal theory" can explain basic characteristics of locomotion for every creature -- how fast they get from one place to another and how rapidly and forcefully they step, flap or paddle in relation to their mass. Constructal theory is a powerful analytical approach to describing movement, or flows, in nature.

The findings, published in the January 2006 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology, challenge the notion that fundamental differences between apparently unrelated forms of locomotion exist. The findings also offer an explanation for remarkable universal similarities in animal design that had long puzzled scientists, the researchers said.

Interesting. An illustration of how 'elementary' constraints have more powerful effects on systems than we tend to imagine.

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