Are Propellers Fin-ished?

The fins and flippers of penguins and other marine animals inspire new ways to propel watercraft.

By Carrie Lock, 00:00 AM September 7, 2004

If you've ever been to an aquarium or a zoo, you've probably admired the feisty penguins. They can squiggle through water faster than 10 miles per hour, turn on a dime, and leap onto shore, all in one smooth movement.

Penguins have flexible, powerful flippers that allow them to maneuver quickly and smoothly in water.

Penguins have flexible, powerful flippers that allow them to maneuver quickly and smoothly in water.

Dolphins and seals can perform similar aquabatics.

These marine animals are more than just fun to watch. They're also inspiring engineers to look for better ways of propell...

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