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Video: Scientists figure out mechanics of wet-dog shake

Video: Scientists figure out mechanics of wet-dog shake

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Scientists have discovered how furry creatures shake off water, which has practical uses, plus gives us this adorable video.

Science is generally useful and fun, sometimes tending more toward the fun end of the spectrum.

Case in point: Researchers have determined just how 16 different animals, ranging from furry beasts like bears to furry critters like mice, shake water from their fur. (Fun fact: A large dog can shed 70% of the water in its fur in four seconds.)

What they've found is that each animals' shaking speed varies by its size, but that each creature's shake is a paragon of efficiency: it gets the animal as dry as possible, wasting as little energy as possible.

This efficiency would be helpful to any furry animal trying to conserving heat on a cold day, when an animal could die of hypothermia if it couldn't dry itself.

Mechanical engineering professor David Hu and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta worked with a zoo to get their results, which they published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Now, why would they do this? Well, sometimes when you're looking to design a man-made object and you aren't sure how to build it, it's best to mimic nature. As Nature News reports:

Understanding how animals shake themselves dry could help scientists to develop ways to rapidly shed water from man-made equipment. Hu hopes that devices can be engineered to incorporate elasticity similar to the all-important loose skin, and suggests that even the humble washing machine could learn a trick or two from the animal world about shedding water.

Nature also has a very excellent (read: adorable) video of animals shaking their fur to a soundtrack of Strauss's Blue Danube, which is a rather fitting musical choice.

Related on SmartPlanet:

via: Nature News

photo: screenshot

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Laura Shin

Features Editor

Laura Shin has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a contributor at Forbes. Previously, she worked at Newsweek, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LearnVest. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure