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37af215d8fabd3c0391277d770f8b0561
2009-07-16 15:10:00

A study published in the July 17 issue of the journal Science details how sandfish -- small lizards with smooth scales -- move rapidly underground through desert sand. In this first thorough examination of subsurface sandfish locomotion, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that the animals place their limbs against their sides and create a wave motion with their bodies to propel themselves through granular media. "When started above the surface, the animals dive into...

242a414277d89aecd6a2885148006ae9
2008-10-06 11:05:20

It moves as quickly in sand as a fish moves through water, which is why this lizard, a species of skink (Scincus scincus) that grows to about 15 cm long and lives in the deserts of North Africa and the Near East, is commonly known by the name "sandfish." Although it looks fairly unremarkable, this desert animal has a thing or two to teach materials-handling and process-technology specialists, as it spends most of its time below the surface of the sand and moves through its element extremely...


Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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