A breakthrough in penguin research ...

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: A breakthrough in penguin research ...
From: knightl <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 18:57:35 +1000

Friday, January 9, 2004. 8:31am (AEDT)
Pooping penguins a faecal attraction

A pair of German scientists have become early frontrunners for the 2004 "Ig Nobels" - annual awards handed out for eccentric research, thanks to their work in calculating the pooping power of penguins.

These flightless birds are known to expel their faeces with great force in order to prevent their waste from fouling their feathers and their nests.

Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow and Jozsef Gal of International University Bremen have now figured out the amount of rectal pressure required by the birds to perform this feat, New Scientist magazine has reported.

The duo spent their time observing and photographing chinstrap and Adelie penguins as they did their business.

The calculations factored in vital data such as the size and viscosity of the faeces, as well as the trajectory and distance - up to 40 centimetres from the nest, taken by the expelled matter.

"The researchers estimate that the birds generate pressures of up to 60 kilopascals, more than half normal atmospheric pressure and more than four times the peak squeeze typically exerted by humans," the British weekly said.

However, it also said "to what use this information will be put is unclear".

-- AFP

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