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Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Swarm

A great read if you ever wanted to know why fish and birds swarm together.

"Being based on land, we have a hard time understanding the behavior of those species that live in the air or underwater. For instance, countless generations have looked up and wondered at the so-called flying V, the tendency of many migratory birds to fly in a wedge-shaped formation. Eventually, scientists figured out that the reason the birds assumed that formation was efficiency; the incredibly complex math of chaos and waves leads a V shape that reduces drag. It’s similar in logic to the drafting performed by race cars, though far more specialized and complex."

Link: HERE

"Researchers now have plenty of explanations for the why of this behavior. First and foremost: there’s safety in numbers. Even if you can’t fight back as a group, you can still use numbers to confuse an enemy with sheer visual noise. In a large group, any one member is infinitely safe than if they were caught out alone — though also far easier to track down."

"The rules are more complex than we currently understand, though. For instance, some species wheel about in incredible patterns and vortexes that are designed to confuse attackers and create unhelpful turbulence in the water or air."