YouTube fuels animal propulsion research
For many people, YouTube is a destination for video entertainment — a seemingly limitless repository of improbable skateboard tricks, choreographed wedding proposals, and adorable cat antics.
But for a group of current and former students at Providence College and Dr. John H. Costello, professor of biology, YouTube and other Internet video hubs serve as research databases.
Under Costello’s direction, a team of undergraduate students searched through the sites for animals in motion, such as fruit flies flying through the air or humpback whales swimming in the ocean, and analyzed the footage to find universal bending patterns for animal propulsion. The journal Nature Communications published their paper on the research February 18. Nature also published a commentary about their work.
“Because of the advent of YouTube and Vimeo, we can find out things we never could find out before,” Costello said.
Read more about Costello's research.
(photo: Michael L. Baird/flickr)