Penguins, Speed and Air Jackets

morgueFile/chamomile
This rather short article on the ability of penguins to zip through the water is quite interesting. There are several intricate features that show how they are designed for what they do — and do it quickly.
Penguins are fast swimmers, but they shouldn't be. As they rocket themselves through the water and onto overlying ice shelves, the drag of water friction is supposed to be too great. Researchers familiar with recent attempts to use air as a lubricant for ships noticed air bubbles jacketing penguins during their boisterous ascents, and that led them to question if penguins use air to accelerate underwater.
National Geographic recently reported on how Bangor University biologist Roger Hughes, inspired by a 2001 BBC documentary that featured emperor penguins leaping out of the water, partnered with an engineer in Denmark and two other researchers to investigate how the penguins could do this. Their results appeared in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series in 2011, where they showed penguins' unique and remarkable design for fast swimming.
You can read the rest of "Scientists Discover Secret to Fast Swimming Penguins", here.

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