Testing How A Fish Can Glide Like A Bird

For some strange reason up until now, there hadn’t been any research that contains measurements of wing performance associated with its morphometry for identifying the characteristics of flight in flying fish. Engineers and not biologists took a keen interest in doing the research. Haecheon Choi, who is a Korean mechanical engineer was reading a book about flying fish to his children when the idea came about.  Then Choi and a colleague Hyungmin Park came up with an experiment.

Science daily describes it…

“…getting hold of flying fish to test in a wind tunnel turned out to be easier said than done. After travelling to Japan to try to buy fish from the world famous Tsukiji fish market, the duo eventually struck up a collaboration with the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Korea.”

“Calculating the flying fish’s lift-to-drag ratios — a measure of the horizontal distance travelled relative to the descent in height during a glide — Choi and Park found that the flying fish performed remarkably well: gliding better than insects and as well as birds such as petrels and wood ducks. And when they analysed how the fish’s lift-to-drag ratio changed as they varied the tilt angle, the duo found that the ratio was highest and the fish glided furthest when they were parallel to the surface, which is exactly what they do above the ocean.”

“Measuring the airborne fish’s pitching moment, the duo also found that the fish were very stable as they glided. However, when they analysed the stability of the fish with its fins swept back in the swimming position it was unstable, which is exactly what you need for aquatic manoeuvrability. So flying fish are superbly adapted for life in both environments.”

It’s great reporting on true science being performed which is not depended upon Darwinian speculation. Notice the curiosity on how it worked, making observations, asking questions, researching existing science papers, proposing an experiment, gathering specimens, designing equipment to test the fish, running the operation while gathering data, publishing the results to help humanity.

Evolutionary theory was of no use in this discovery, but the authors had to give a minor mention about it, the flying fish has evolved to have good aerodynamic designs…” but sparing us on how they imagined it supposedly evolved into the design by a mindless process which would have been been no help at all in understanding the creature’s ability. Other than that, it was all about design and not evolution. This is a clear example of  design-focused research producing good science!

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10 thoughts on “Testing How A Fish Can Glide Like A Bird

  1. “Notice the curiosity on how it worked, making observations, asking questions, researching existing science papers, proposing an experiment, gathering specimens, designing equipment to test the fish, running the operation while gathering data, publishing the results to help humanity.”

    So when are creationists going to do any of that ? Just one of the above would already be something. But no.

    And your last paragraph is very twisted indeed. The reasearch was not about design. Of course the authors should not have used the word ‘design’ in their line “the flying fish has evolved to have good aerodynamic designs…”, as it isn’t designed. The used the word ‘evolved’, after all, in the very same line.

  2. Michael,

    It’s great reporting on true science being performed which is not depended upon Darwinian speculation.

    And…

    Evolutionary theory was of no use in this discovery, but the authors had to give a minor mention about it,

    So, basically, you are only posting this because Darwin wasn’t really invoked… Well, so what?!

    Other than that, it was all about design and not evolution. This is a clear example of design-focused research producing good science!

    Why don’t you contact the scientists that are involved in this and ask them if they agree with you? I’ll tell you why..Because they would actually disagree. They would also say that Flying fish are a good example of why evolution is awesome.

  3. Evolutionary theory was of no use in this discovery, but the authors had to give a minor mention about it, “the flying fish has evolved to have good aerodynamic designs.

    So evolution was not helpful in measuring the aerodynamic characteristics of flying fish in a wind tunnel. WOW! Hold the presses! Evolution is also of little use in determining the air speed velocity of a swallow.[1]

    In fact, the only theory that is less useful in both cases is creationism.

    So, if you wish to read up on the evolution of flying fish, you’ll have to go elsewhere. You might start with John Davenport’s 1994 review paper “How and Why Do Flying Fish Fly?”[2] Briefly, they evolved from elongate epiplagic fish with hypocercal tails. This tail—ahem—design already afforded higher swimming speed in the near-surface zone, which has high drag. This is what biologists call “preadaptation”: a feature that increases fitness in a present environment turns out to be advantageous in a new one as well.

    Since they already swam near the surface for their food supply, the air was only a hop skip and a jump away. But why would they take to the air? Because dolphins, being air breathing, also spend a lot of time near the surface. And dolphins consider flying fish a delicacy of the first water.[3] The fish take off higher as the dolphins approach. The ones that can take to the sky escape more often, reproduce more often, and there you have it.

    So why didn’t all the small prey fish take to the air? Creationists will never understand that evolution is opportunistic. These particular half-beak teleosts had a head start, one that also adapted them for their previous environment. The others have come up with different strategies, different ways to avoid predators. The flying fish “chanced” upon a strategy that increased their survival, and selection reinforced it.

    It’s been a while since Michael has used this particular stock phrase.

    (5) “It is refreshing to note that a complete article has been written on xxx without even once mentioning yyy.” [Fill in xxx = prickly pear cactus, the hiccup reflex, hot chicken soup, etc. Fill in yyy = evolution, the Big Bang, Goan vindaloo sauce, etc.] (NOTE: This phrase is an emergency slow-news-day back-up, dragged out only when nothing else can be found.)[4]

    And it’s just as laughable now as it was then.

    While we’re at it, have you made any progress on amassing your qualifications to discuss science? Or have you been able to compile your readership numbers in 6 months? How about the promised review of Signature in the Cell? Surely someone has written one that you can plagiarize without getting caught.

    ===================

    [1] Sorry, Monty Python.

    [2] Reviews in Fish Biology & Fisheries, Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 1994).

    [2] Pun intended, of course.

    [4] From post dated March 22, 2010, comment by Soc Puppette (RIP) dated 3:22 at 10:49a.m.

  4. The journal that Science Daily refers to is Park & Choi, “Aerodynamic characteristics of flying fish in gliding flight,” Journal of Experimental Biology, 2010; 213: 3269-3279 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.046052.

    This research was first written up as “Investigation of Aerodynamic Capabilities of Flying Fish in Gliding Flight,” in IUTAM Symposium on Unsteady Separated Flows and their Control, IUTAM Bookseries, 2009, Volume 14, I, 27-33, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9898-7_3.

    This just miiiiiight explain why evolution was mentioned only casually. The original paper was in a physics journal, not a biology journal.

  5. Quiet weekend. Must be a slow day at the creationist zoo, Delusional Park. (“If you build it, they will believe.”)

    The dinosaurs are patiently waiting for Eve to deliver the science apple to Adam, so they can dump that tasteless grass and go eat the delicious gazelle in the next field over but one.

  6. Olorin :Quiet weekend. Must be a slow day at the creationist zoo, Delusional Park. (“If you build it, they will believe.”)
    The dinosaurs are patiently waiting for Eve to deliver the science apple to Adam, so they can dump that tasteless grass and go eat the delicious gazelle in the next field over but one.

    Well, next time ICR posts something that allegedly throws off the “evolutionary story,” he’ll be the first to know it. — Well, i read a lot of those ICR posts, and quite frankly, I get confused on whether I should laugh or give a facepalm :P

  7. Testing How A Fish Can Glide Like A Bird

    Note the word “glide.” Flying fish propel themselves into the air by beatingthe water with their tails. Once in the air, they glide until falling back into the water.

    Why do they not flap their fins, as birds flap their wings, to stay in the air longer? Apparently this is a design fault. God gave them wing-like fins, but entirwely forgot about the neural cirxcuits for moving them in that mode.

    OR—evolution came up with an opportunistic way, using an already-present mechanism, to escape predators that was “good enough.” (Birds, meanwhile, already had the neural capability to flap, from their prior use of the proto-wings as arms for quadruped walking.)

  8. And now we have squid that “glide like a bird.” A small squid species has been filmed propelling itself into the air with its jet system, and using its fins to glide for about 10 meters (50x body length) through the air.

    Flying fish use this trick to avoid predation from dolphins. It is unknown why the squid do it. Maybe just for the helovit.

    Or maybe to discomfit the creationists. Who knows?

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