This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Emily Schwing.
"Whales move by beating their tails."
Paolo Segre is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford.
"And they've got these large muscular tails, which they can move and that's what powers them forward. And they use their flippers, sort of extended out to the side, to maneuver."
He and colleagues actually affixed cameras onto humpback whales, in the hope of learning more about how they move in their marine habitat. And those cameras caught a glimpse of something completely unexpected.
"We basically got video evidence of whales actually flapping their flippers, much like a bird flaps its wings, in order to power their forward swimming."
Segre calls the discovery "novel". Which is science-speak for never-before-noted. The flipper-powered push may come in handy especially when the whales engage in lunge-feeding—opening their giant mouths, then quickly moving forward to take in hundreds of gallons of water and its edible contents.
"Most of what we used to know about whales was from the whaling industry, from dissections of whales that washed up on shore, or from those brief glimpses that we got when we were sitting on a boat and see them surface while they're breathing."
The findings are in the journal Current Biology.
Segre says the newly discovered propulsion method is likely unique to the humpback whale, which is known for its very long and extremely mobile flippers. The finding might even lead to some real-world applications among us humans.
"But I think where this could be really interesting is actually with inspiring different shapes and movements of propellers or wind turbines...that's the type of place that we could look for if we really want to see how moving flippers could translate to something, to an engineering purpose."
Turns out the humpback's flippers tell their own unique tale.
Thanks for listening for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Emily Schwing.
“鲸鱼巨大又强健的尾巴为它们提供向前移动的动力 。鲸鱼利用从身体两侧伸出的鱼鳍来操控移动方向 。”
塞格雷和同事在座头鲸身上安装了摄像机，希望对座头鲸在海洋栖息地中的移动方式有更多了解 。这些摄像头捕捉到了一些完全出乎意料的画面 。
塞格雷称这一发现“很新奇” 。这是以前从未被注意到的科学说法 。这种以鳍为动力的推进方法可能会派上用场，尤其是鲸鱼在猛扑进食时，即张开大嘴，然后快速向前猛冲，将数百加仑水和食物吞入腹中 。
塞格雷表示，新发现的推进方式很可能是座头鲸所独有的，座头鲸以其极长且极为灵活的鳍而闻名 。这一发现甚至可能会激发人类使用的现实应用 。
谢谢大家收听科学美国人——60秒科学 。我是埃米莉·施温 。
1. in the hope of 怀着（…发生的）希望；
例句：He was studying in the hope of being admitted to an engineering college.
2. come in handy 派上用场；
例句：That key will come in handy if you lock yourself out.
3. engage in 参与；从事；
例句：Students engage in extensive written and oral communication exercises.
4. lead to 招致；致使；导致；
例句：All this creativity does not always lead to culinary delights or sustainable sales.