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How Penguins Get Serious Air

Penguins
can’t fly – just ask any five-year-olds and she’ll tell you that much
– but that doesn’t mean that penguins can’t get massive air. Indeed, leaping
out of the water to get airborne is a strategy they use to avoid getting
eaten by predators.

Now, scientists have figured the secret of how the chubby birds get
airborne:

… one aspect of this leaping behaviour has long puzzled biologists.
As the birds swim toward the surface, they trail a wake of bubbles behind
them. No one knew where these bubbles come from, or why there are there.
[...]

… the researchers made some interesting discoveries. The bubbles
of air being trailed by the penguins weren’t coming out of the
birds’ lungs via the beak.

Instead, they were coming from the birds’ feathers.

“We were amazed to find that,” Professor Davenport
tells me.

The researchers also realised that these air bubbles form a “coat”
around the birds’ bodies as they rocket toward the surface at
speeds of 19km an hour.

Matt Walker of BBC Nature’s Wonder Monkey Blog explains: Link

Post Metadata

Date
April 17th, 2012

Author
Stranger to the World

Category



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