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Scientists solve the mystery of how the flying snake moves



Scientists have discovered that flying snakes can make their bodies undulate when gliding in the air, and these unique actions allow them to fly.

These snakes, such as Chrysopelea paradisi, also known as paradise tree snakes, often live in trees in South and Southeast Asia. When they get there, they move along the branches, and sometimes when they reach another tree, they fly into the air and glide down at an angle.

For the research published in the journal Nature Physics, scientists at Virginia Tech attached motion capture tags to seven snakes and photographed them with high-speed cameras as they flew over four-story theaters.

Jack Socha, a professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech, has studied these snakes for more than 20 years. He collaborated with his colleagues to measure the sliding of more than 1

00 live snakes and built a 3D model.

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Paradise tree snake gliding.

Paradise tree snake gliding.
(Photo by Jake Socha)

Their model affects the frequency, direction, force acting on the body, and mass distribution of the undulating waves. With it, the researchers conducted virtual experiments to study fluctuations in the air.

Socha said in a statement: “I think I have slipped nearly a thousand times over the years.” “Every time I meet is still great. Seeing it with my own eyes, it’s a little different. Still shocking. This animal in the end What are you doing? It’s incredible to be able to answer the questions I’ve had since I was a graduate student.”

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In a set of experiments designed to discern why each glide is undulating, they simulated what would happen if the undulation did not occur. They do this by closing it. When their virtual snake cannot move in the air, its body will drop.

This test, combined with simulated taxiing that moves the movement forward, confirms their hypothesis that air fluctuations can enhance the flying stability of the flying snake.

Scientists concluded in the abstract of the paper: “This work shows that the snake’s aerial fluctuations are different from other animals’ known fluctuations and provide a new control template for dynamic flying robots.”


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