Zoolook

We launched public profiles on Dopplr yesterday – and the thing that seems to get people talking is their personal velocity, rendered as an animal.

I’m not sure when this occured to me, perhaps it’s my fascination with daemons and familiars – but it seems to strike a chord.

The hardest part of implementing this was finding enough animals at lower speeds – the internet has lots of data on fast, exciting beasties, but not so much on the slowpokes.

We’d love to get more members for our menagerie…

If you’re a zoologist or know one please get in touch!

No, really.

8 comments
  1. Cool – I learned about it here, first.

    Mine doesn’t seem to be showing my home page, at least it wasn’t when I posted this.

  2. gav said:

    NASA’s crawler is classified as an animal? That’s very cool.

  3. David S said:

    Well, I was a zoologist (or at least got the formal training to be one) about, like, 100 years ago.

    To get good slow animals, you have to go very big (think manatees) or very small (in terms of raw material, there are an awfully large numbers of beetles, for example).

    Snails, of course, spring to mind, but are actually quite quick – being land-living, they have to keep moving since the green stuff they need is fixed and they have to go to it.

    So for real slow coaches, consider the marine options. Starfish, sea urchins and other echinoderms all move at perceptable rates of motion and only at particular times of the day, so they probably fill out the foot of the table. And then there’s a whole bunch of critters that are sessile for at least some of their lives (tunicates, mussels, oysters, barnacles, etc – and of course, as long as we’re including extinct as well as extant animals, let’s include crinoids, just for the Dr Who-esqueness of it). Some of these creatures travel outrageously far as larvae so their average isn’t really zero, so they still belong in there somewhere.

    Flagellated bacteria moving across a fixed medium (like a goopy slimy gel) are probably the slowest ‘active’ movers of the animal kingdom – anything smaller sort of surfs the Brownian motion and takes whatever comes it’s way, I suspect.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Tom said:

    You should contact Prof. Neil Alexander (Leeds University) – not only is he a very nice man but his area of expertise is biomechanics including the speed of animals. But the best bit is he’s done work calculating the speed of different dinosaurs.

  5. Hugo said:

    This might be a bit late and you have at least one*, but anyway:

    I heard on a science programme on the radio the other week (Material World, Radio 4), they said the Nasa Ares 1-x crawler-transporter does 0.6 mph, at 250 times snail’s pace.

    * http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackbeltjones/2583598611/

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