New Footage to Reveal How Jesus Lizard "Runs" on Water

By Brett Israel | October 14, 2009 2:04 pm

Basilisk lizards have garnered the nickname Jesus Lizards over the years for their ability to “run” across the surface of water. However, these fast little guys don’t rely on miracles, say scientists. New footage of the lizard, filmed at 2,000 frames per second, will air on the BBC on Monday October 19, revealing the science behind the lizards’ water run. From the Huffington Post:

Simon Blakeney, a producer who had filmed the lizard for the BBC told Matt Walker from BBC Earth News, “Because [the lizards] run so fast they create a bubble as their feet hit the water and then they push off from this bubble before it bursts,” says Blakeney. By balancing and pushing off from these bubbles, the lizard is able to “walk” on water.

The 2-4cm lizards only know one speed—full throttle—and this forces their bodies upright as they sprint across the water. In an older video, courtesy of National Geographic, there is considerable splashing as one lizard’s feet appear to sink below the surface during a run. However scientists say this is due to water being yanked up as the lizards pick their feet up off the surface of the water.

We’ll have to wait for the new footage, which is slowed down to 1/80th the speed of real life, to see for ourselves. But for now, check out the NatGeo video, showing a basilisk lizard scooting across the water in around 49 seconds.

Related Content:
Discoblog: The Science of Virgin Birth
Discoblog: What Kind of Peer-Review Would Jesus Want?
Discoblog: Man, Pronounced Dead, Spontaneously Comes Back to Life

Video: YouTube / National Geographic

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