Sunday, July 27, 2014

How bird flocks are like liquid helium | Science/AAAS | News

How bird flocks are like liquid helium | Science/AAAS | News: Using tracking software on the recorded video, the team could pinpoint when and where individuals decide to turn, information that enabled them to follow how the decision sweeps through the flock. The tracking data showed that the message to turn started from a handful of birds and swept through the flock at a constant speed between 20 and 40 meters per second. That means that for a group of 400 birds, it takes just a little more than a half-second for the whole flock to turn...

The team proposes that instead of copying the direction in which a neighbor flies, a bird copies how sharply a neighbor turns...

Interestingly, Cavagna adds, the new model is mathematically identical to the equations that describe superfluid helium.

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