PMID: 5910195Apr 22, 1966

Hydrodynamic performance of porpoises (Stenella attenuata)

T G Lang, K W Pryor


Two specimens of Stenella attenuata, trained to chase a winchtowed lure, reached a top speed of 11.03 meters per second (21.4 knots) in 2.0 seconds. The maximum power output, occurring 1.5 seconds after the start, was calculated from measured values of acceleration and drag coefficient. The maximum power output per unit body weight was 50 percent greater than for human athletes. The measured drag coefficient, obtained from periods of coasting, was approximately the same as that of an equivalent rigid body with a near-turbulent boundary layer.


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