Swimming Speed of a Pacific Bottlenose Porpoise

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Science  04 Feb 1966:
Vol. 151, Issue 3710, pp. 588-590
DOI: 10.1126/science.151.3710.588


Four kinds of speed runs showed a Pacific bottlenose porpoise (Tursiops gilli) to have a top speed of 29.9 kilometers per hour (16.1 knots) for 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 21.9 kilometers per hour (11.8 knots) for 50 seconds. These results compare closely with highest predictions based upon rigid body drag calculations, the same power output per unit body weight as for athletes, and a propulsive efficiency of 85 percent.