Computational fluid dynamics can be used to study how extinct animals used to swim. Scientists studied 65 million-yr-previous cephalopod fossils to realize a deeper understanding of contemporary-day cephalopod ecosystems.
Three scientists affiliated with the College of Utah’s division of geology and geophysics will current research on the width, coil diameter and the general construction of the prehistoric cephalopods shells and how these elements affected their swimming patterns on the American Bodily Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics 72nd Annual Assembly on Nov. 25.
Nicholas Hebdon, Kathleen Ritterbush, and Yunji Choi use a computational fluid dynamics model to review the locomotion of ammonoids, a group of cephalopods that swam the oceans for almost 300 million years. They went extinct on the similar time dinosaurs.
“One of many interesting and arduous issues about ammonoids is that they have no direct descendants immediately regardless of their dominance before now,” stated Hebdon. “We’re taken with what this would possibly be capable of informing us in regards to the stability of marine ecosystems and the way they recover diversity and ecological complexity after drastic extinctions. Since we won’t compare on to modern descendants, we’ve to be creative about how we examine their potential behavior and interactions.”
The scientists examined the change in size and shape of ammonoid shells by researching fossils. Shell shape and dimension mirrored how efficiently cephalopods swam throughout various geological periods.
“The styles and sizes of fossil shells we discover from any given interval of geologic time—say, the early Triassic or the early Jurassic—are shells produced by whichever department of the evolutionary tree was flourishing at the moment and the shells these species might construct of their explicit environments,” stated Hebdon.
Researching these lengthy extinct swimmers and their adaptation into different ecosystems throughout hundreds of thousands of years is predicted to shed light on the habits of the modern cephalopod ecosystem.