Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Penguin Power

by Andre on 18 August 2006

A study that truly earned its Ig Nobel graced my inbox today. It’s a wonderful demonstration of how basic physical principles can impact biology. Here’s a schematic of their subject: gravity's rainbow
It also benefits from an abstract that gets right to the point.

Chinstrap and Ade �?lie penguins generate con-
siderable pressures to propel their faeces away from the
edge of the nest. The pressures involved can be
approximated…

Like most good research, it raises more questions than it answers and needs more funding. The authors conclude:


Whether the bird deliberately chooses the direction into
which it decides to expel its faeces or whether this de-
pends on the direction from which the wind blows at
the time of evacuation are questions that need to be
addressed on another expedition to Antarctica.

The article [pdf] is available free of charge for your reading pleasure.

Asside: The lead author’s research is prolific and incredibly eclectic. Just check out this publication list!



  1. Uncle Al    3868 days ago    #

    If tiny turbines could be appended to their poop chutes, energy independence could be ours for piddles! Gotta love those cloacas.


  2. coturnix    3862 days ago    #

    Wow – that guy started publishing in 1962 in German language! That is more diverse stuff than Eviatar Nevo and Harold Heathwole put together! He is probably a Director of an Institute now and puts his name on every paper coming out of the building.


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