(…) Little data exists on the swimming movements of dolphins and whales. The earliest record of cetacean swimming kinematics came from Parry (1949), who observed the swimming motions of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) giving birth. The movements of a Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) were filmed during a study to determine power, speed, and drag (Lang and Daybell, 1963). Videler and Kamermans (1985) measured swimming velocities, fluke oscillation frequencies, stride lengths, fluke angle of attack, and the forces generated during the upstroke and downstroke of the flukes for the swimming movements of a bottlenose dolphin and an estuary dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). A study of the kinematics of a pair of bottlenose dolphins showed that the fluke oscillation frequency increased with velocity, while the heave amplitude and maximum pitch angle of the flukes decreased with velocity (Fish, 1991).
The purpose of this study was to measure and compare the fluke motions of two cetacean species, harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhyncus acutus), and to correlate the differences with morphological and behavioral characteristics. (…)