Researchers believe they've discovered how a number of different snake species are able to "fly" through the air at up to 100 feet in an UFO-like shape, according to BBC News.
The study confirmed that snakes are able to "fly" due to their flexible ribs, which forms a shape that allows them to glide away from predators or move from one tree to the next to find food.
At least five different species of snakes were examined by Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University for the study. Researchers used 3-D printing to make a copy of the snake's gliding shape and then put it in a tank of water that "flowed over it" to simulate different in-flight conditions.
"The water flowed over it and we measured the forces on the model and we also visualized the flow movement in the water using lasers and high-speed cameras," Dr. Jake Socha said according to BBC News.
Results were published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.
After tilting the copy in a number of different angles as they changed the speed of the water, the researchers measured how it tilted up or down depending on the changes that occurred.
Results confirmed that snake's unique shape creates enough lift to give it the ability to glide, and real snakes are likely to perform even better than the 3D snakes.
"If you make a rough estimate of the lift to drag ratio for the real animal, it appears to do better than what we got from this study. So even though this shape produced more lift than we were expecting, it doesn't get us the glide performance that snakes can attain, giving us a hint that there is something in what the animal is doing aerodynamically that is not captured by the cross-sectional shape alone," Socha said.
http://www.autoworldnews.com/articles/6 ... an-fly.htm
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