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科学家解开了飞蛇如何运动的谜团

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2020年07月02日

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Mystery of how flying snakes move is solved by scientists

科学家解开了飞蛇如何运动的谜团

Flying snakes are able to undulate their bodies as they glide through the air, and those unique movements allow them to take flight, scientists have found.

科学家发现,飞蛇在空中滑行时能够使身体起伏,这些独特的动作使它们能够飞行。

These snakes, such Chrysopelea paradisi, also known as the paradise tree snake, tend to reside in the trees of South and Southeast Asia. While up there, they move along tree branches and, sometimes, to reach another tree, they’ll launch themselves into the air and glide down at an angle.

这些蛇,如金缕梅,也被称为天堂树蛇,往往居住在南亚和东南亚的树上。在树上,它们会沿着树枝移动,有时,为了到达另一棵树,它们会飞到空中,然后以一定角度滑翔下来。

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For their research published in the journal Nature Physics, scientists from Virginia Tech put motion-capture tags on seven snakes and filmed them with high-speed cameras as the snakes flew across a four-story high theater.

弗吉尼亚理工大学的科学家们在《自然物理学》杂志上发表了他们的研究成果,他们在七条蛇身上贴上了动作捕捉标签,并在这些蛇飞过一座四层楼高的剧院时用高速摄影机拍摄了下来。

Jack Socha, a professor in the department of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech who has studied these snakes for more than 20 years, worked with his colleagues to build a 3D model after measuring more than 100 live snake glides.

弗吉尼亚理工大学生物医学工程与力学系教授杰克·索查(Jack Socha)对这些蛇进行了20多年的研究,他在测量了100多条活蛇滑翔后,与同事们一起建立了一个3D模型。

Their model factors in frequencies of undulating waves, their direction, forces acting on the body, and mass distribution. With it, the researchers have run virtual experiments to investigate aerial undulation.

它们的模型因素包括波动波的频率、方向、作用在物体上的力和质量分布。利用它,研究人员进行了虚拟实验来研究空中波动。

“In all these years, I think I’ve seen close to a thousand glides,” said Socha in a statement. “It’s still amazing to see every time. Seeing it in person, there’s something a little different about it. It’s shocking still. What exactly is this animal doing? Being able to answer the questions I’ve had since I was a graduate student, many, many years later, is incredibly satisfying.”

索查在一份声明中说:“这些年来,我想我已经看过近1000次滑翔了。”“每次看到都让人惊叹。亲自去看,会有一些不同。太令人震惊了。这只动物到底在做什么?许多年后的今天,能够回答我从研究生时代就有的问题,是一种令人难以置信的满足。”

In one set of experiments that aimed to discern why undulation was part of each glide, they simulated what would happen if it wasn’t. They did this by turning it off. When their virtual snake couldn’t undulate in the air, its body would fall.

在一组旨在辨别为什么波动是每个滑翔的一部分的实验中,他们模拟了如果不是波动会发生什么。当他们的虚拟蛇不能在空中波动时,它的身体就会掉下来。

That test, paired with simulated glides that kept the movement going, confirmed their hypothesis — that aerial undulation enhances rotational stability in flying snakes.

这项测试,加上模拟的滑翔运动,证实了他们的假设——空中起伏增强了飞行蛇的旋转稳定性。

“This work demonstrates that aerial undulation in snakes serves a different function than known uses of undulation in other animals, and suggests a new template of control for dynamic flying robots,” the scientists conclude in their paper’s abstract.

科学家们在论文摘要中总结说:“这项研究表明,蛇的空中波动与其他动物的已知波动作用不同,并为动态飞行机器人提供了一种新的控制模板。”。


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