Research | Queen’s University Canada

Measuring the Invisible Wake of a 500 million-year-old Swimmer

With this perspective we see the tail-fin model of Anomalocaris Canadensis, a 500 million-year-old predator from the Burgess Shale, as it passes through the high-speed laser sheet. Not visible on either side are high-speed cameras that capture the motion of millions of tiny silver-coated, hollow-glass spheres that track the flow. By tracking the motion of these tiny spheres we reconstruct the otherwise invisible wake of this ancient swimmer. This fin shape is unique from that period but may serve as a good model for high-performance aerodynamic control surfaces today.
Submission Year: 
Photographer's affiliation: 
Academic areas: 
Smith Engineering
Art of Research categories: 
Invisible discoveries
A tail-fin model of Anomalocaris Canadensis as it passes through a high-speed laser sheet
Faculty / Researcher
Smith Engineering
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Fundamental Principles of Nature: from Discovery to Application and Innovation
Ecology, Biodiversity and the Natural Environment
Location of photograph: 
OTTER lab, Queen's University
Photographer's name: 
David Rival
Display Photographers Affiltion + Faculty or Department: 
Faculty, Mechanical and Materials Engineering