Scientists Dive into the Mystery of the Doggy Paddle

A cool story on Inside Science looks at the ways scientists are studying the uniquely canine method of swimming that we all know as the “doggy paddle.” It turns out that there are some very interesting theory about how the stroke developed over millennia, and it might even tie dogs to some of the earliest aquatic mammals, some 20 million years ago:

Examining dogs’ paddling techniques could help scientists understand how the ancestors of animals like dolphins went from living on land to swimming in the seas. Fish says he’s trying to understand what natural selection factors were in play for animals that were just beginning to swim. Although dogs aren’t direct predecessors of cetaceans — the category that includes dolphins, whales and porpoises — aquatic mammals did evolve from longed-legged quadrupeds that moved into the water, and over time dropped their paws in favor of fins.

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