Like a fish paddles its pectoral fins to swim through water, flying insects use the same physics laws to “paddle” through the air, say Cornell physicists.
Using high-speed videography and a precision algorithm for 3-D motion tracking, Cornell researchers have demonstrated that swimmers and flyers share similar force generation methods to propel themselves through water or air. This finding goes against conventional theories that the “paddling” motion common to swimmers, which use drag forces to propel forward, only occurs in water.
Fruit flies and other flyers also use drag to “swim” through the air, the scientists say. Their discovery lends support to the evolutionary theory that flight in insects emerged from swimming.
Read more here Swimming led to flying, physicists say.