Sperm usually swim in a 3D shimmy: a spiral wave travels down the whippy flagellum and rotates its head in a circle around its long axis. That “bulk swimming” is fine most of the time, but it isn’t a great option when a sperm cell gets close to a surface. That’s when they switch to “slither” mode.
The lamprey—a jawless, toothy suction funnel that looks like it sprung to life out of the Alien storyboards—is the sort of creature whose existence most of us would prefer not to dwell on. But lampreys are among the most efficient swimmers on Earth, and their unusual stroke could help engineers design low-cost…
Sure, you’re already doing a lot to save water—plucking the almonds from your granola each morning and shaming your grass-owning neighbors daily on Twitter. But when will you get serious about the drought and install a pool?
There is something fascinating about watching an animal behavior that we don't normally witness. After two Peregrine Falcons forced this Great Horned Owl down into Lake Michigan, the owl managed to escape with a few strokes of butterfly.
Before they can become part of National Zoo's exhibit, Sumatran tiger cubs have to show that they can swim in the exhibits moat. Watch two unhappy cubs get their feet—and the rest of their bodies—wet.
In Prometheus, we saw a mysterious alien seeding the Earth with DNA. This act of fertilizing a planet with life from space is called panspermia. And in this music video from director Tom Walsh and the band Swimming, you can see a breathtaking short story of panspermia that feels far more satisfying than the one in …
As we go into the final two days of Olympic swimming — the men's open water 10k is today –- scientists are already telling swimmers how to improve their stroke for the next Olympic Games. Two different studies are reconsidering the biomechanics of swimmers' pulls, a hotly debated topic among coaches and athletes.
Any time someone breaks a record, people inevitably bring up the possibility that they had some illegal enhancements. Just yesterday, gold medalist Ye Shiwen was accused of "blood doping" to improve her performance. You may be familiar with steroids and other drugs — but what on Earth is "blood doping?" And why would…
The US government has assured us that there is no such thing as a mermaid, but that doesn't mean you can't play mermaid or merman at your local pool. These custom-made mermaid tails let you look and swim like you're half-fish.
For those of you who thought you could escape to the water during the robopocalypse, you thought wrong. Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology are working on a robot that can accurately mimic a human swimmer's whole-body motion. Called Swumanoid — an awkward portmanteau of "swimming humanoid" - the swimbot…
What is the optimum stroke angle for a duck's foot when paddling? Although a duck may already intuitively know the answer, the question has now been clarified for us humans as part of a recent research project undertaken at the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in the US.
According to researchers at Frankfurt's Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, the sight of certain swimming strokes can evoke colors in synesthetic swimmers.
A man at the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships in London is seen here adjusting his Cyberman swim cap. It's emotionless headgear for a frigid race. How deliciously apropos! [Photo: Kieran Doherty/Reuters via Boing Boing]