On Zientzia Video Competition

My video ‘how plesiosaurs ruled the ocean with their flippers’ has been shortlisted for a prize in the On Zientzia science video competition. You can vote for my entry by clicking here and rating the video out of 5 stars. 

“The aim of the competition is to promote the production and dissemination of short, original videos that foment positive and progress values of science and technology, and that can be used by any kind of public for consultation purposes. The subject is totally free and can deal with one’s own or other people’s research, red-hot issues in society or the scientific community, personal scientific and technical passions, basic science concepts, scientific milestones, historical figures and science of the future or the past.”

Size matters when it comes to speed

How fast should an animal be able to move? And why are the biggest animals, which pack more muscle, not the fastest? That’s what Yale scientist Walter Jetz was wondering, so he and his colleagues looked at hundreds of animal species and have come up with a new theory that successfully puts a speed limit on most species…

  • There is a theoretical maximum speed that is expected to increase with body size,  however, in order to actually get to any speed you need to first accelerate, and larger animals take much longer to do so – much like a truck accelerating to 60mph compared to a motorbike or car.
  • Large bodied animals simply do not have sufficient energy to reach their theoretical maximum speed.
  • The general distribution is a ‘hump-shape’ as shown in the plots below. Maximum speed increases with size until we reach a critical mass beyond which the maximum speed reached starts to decrease.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 10.59.30

  • Data for over 450 species were included in the study, across land, air and water.
  • The study provides insight into evolutionary trade-offs for different species as they evolve to increase their chances of survival.

You can listen to the full interview with the Naked Scientists here.

Image copyright Dawn Key

 

Tom Rocks Maths Episode 03

Episode number 3 of Tom Rocks Maths on Oxide Radio – Oxford University’s student radio station. Featuring special guest Marie who talks about bringing dinosaurs back to life, asks me to explain the fourth dimension and tests out her mathematical knowledge with a dinosaur-themed quiz. Plus the weekly puzzle, the chaotic world of Funbers and music from Muse, Stereophonics and Bowling for Soup…

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