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Scientists solve the flying snake mystery

Paradise Tree Snake
PARADISE FLYING SNAKE Chrysopelea paradisi Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) is one of the most unique of its kind. It is found in southeastern Asia and has the ability to fly from one branch to another.

It is commonly found in humid forests and has the capability to glide up to 100 meters at a stretch.

Recently, the mystery of the flying snakes has been solved, credited to a team of scientists. The paradise tree snake is able to are able to oscillate its body as they glide through the air. This unique movement allows them to hover from one branch to another.

Professor Jake Socha, from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech, has found out that undulation is the basic program in the snake. He has been working upon these snakes for more than 20 years.

Socha interestingly elaborated –

“By program, I mean their neural, muscular program⁠ — they’re receiving specific instructions: fire this muscle now, the fire that muscle, fire this muscle. It’s ancient. It goes beyond snakes. That pattern of creating undulations is an old one. It’s quite possible that a snake gets into the air, then it goes, ‘What do I do? I’m a snake. I undulate.’”

Researchers Developed a 3D Model of Paradise Tree Snake

Socha in a statement said –

“In all these years, I think I’ve seen close to a thousand glides,”. “It’s still amazing to see every time. Seeing it in person, there’s something a little different about it. It’s shocking still. What exactly is this animal doing? Being able to answer the questions I’ve had since I was a graduate student, many, many years later, is incredibly satisfying.”

Researchers conducted a large number of experiments and developed a 3D model based on the observation which they made.

They recorded more than 100 snake gliding in the air. They collected data on the frequency and direction of undulating waves, forces acting on the body, and mass distribution.

Written by Anukriti Ghosh

Though I am a Bioinformatician, my inclination towards content writing is never less than it. I relish doing research, reading, and writing. I can easily jot down, not for me but for my readers. And through this, I wish to bring the best of me to my readers.

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