Dogs are cute. Puppies even more so. But I’m not so sure these slow motion clips capture nature’s more adorable creations in the best light. It’s all in the name of science, of course, with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology using similar footage to determine what makes “the shake” so effective.
As io9 writes, a combination of slow-motion video and “fur particle tracking” from over 30 animals was used to find a correlation between the type and size of a creature and the method it used to dry itself:
…the frequency of an animal’s shake — ie, the number of times it oscillates its body per second — is tuned to “(i) the animal’s size and (ii) the properties of water, namely surface tension and density”, in order to remove as much water as possible with minimal physical effort … small animals [oscillate faster] in order to generate the centrifugal force necessary to overcome the strength of the surface tension that keeps water attached to their fur. Larger animals, by comparison, can tune their shakes to much lower frequencies to generate the same force.
The article mentions that a “large, soggy dog can shed as much as 70 per cent of the water in its fur in just four seconds”, so there’s no denying it’s an extremely effective and simple way of drying oneself. Even so, I don’t think anyone’s in a rush to spontaneously grow a thick layer of fur just to enjoy the benefits.