Three-dimensional geometry of the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) flukes in relation to hydrodynamics
Fontanella, Janet E.
Fish, Frank E.
Nweeia, Martin T.
Ketten, Darlene R.
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Cetaceans (whales, porpoises, and dolphins) use only their flukes for propulsion. Flukes are distally located extensions of the tail, and from a biomechanical standpoint, function as a pair of wings (Vogel 1994). Flukes function to produce thrust generated as an anteriorly directed lift force as flukes oscillate vertically (Fish 1998 a,b). Their cross-sections resemble hydrofoils. For a hydrofoil to be effective, a large lift must be produced while drag is minimized; this, in turn, increases the thrust generated (Weihs 1989; Vogel 1994).
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2010. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of John Wiley & Sons for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Mammal Science 27 (2011): 889–898, doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00439.x.
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