Researchers have sought to answer a question very few people were likely asking — how far can an Adélie penguin poo when it’s guarding its nest? That answer is up to 1.34 metres, in case you were wondering.
Initially, it was found the force was three times the strength of a human’s and it was done to ensure the penguins kept their nests dung-free.
Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow was one of the 2003 paper’s authors and said the original idea came from a curious student in his lecture.
Meyer-Rochow explained in a post that a student was curious about why his pictures of the penguins had pink streaks around the nest, which looked like aesthetic decoration.
“I explained that a penguin stands up, moves to the edge of its nest, turns around, lifts its tail and then shoots from its rear (which leaves a 30- 40 cm long streak of semi-liquid whitish stuff behind),” Meyer-Rochow wrote.
“No question is stupid and this one made me think and look at my slides again.”
But with 2020 going to shit, it seemed fitting some new researchers would revisit that very study.
New research finds Adélie penguins have their shit sorted
A Japanese team conducted the study, as published in a draft paper in the open source archive, Arxiv. It found the penguin’s rectal pressure was so strong, it could fling faecal matter up to 1.34 metres away when positioned in higher spots. It also found that the 2003 study might have underestimated just how strong the penguins’ rectal pressure actually was.
The draft paper concedes, however, its calculations were simplified and further work needs to be done in order to calculate the hydrodynamic equations of faeces in the air and stomach.
While the study may sound arbitrary at first glance, it’s being done for a noble cause. Keepers tending to the penguins could use the information to avoid being sprayed with the projectile poop.
“These bombings sometimes embarrass keepers under breeding environments, like an aquarium. It is practically important to know how far their [faeces] reach from the origin,” the researchers wrote.
“Such information would save keepers from the crisis. It would also be helpful for a newcomer guidance for keepers to avoid such an incident.”
So if you dream of breeding flightless birds or plan on booking that trip to Antarctica (or just heading down to the local aquarium) once lockdowns lift, remember to keep a healthy distance from the backside of an Adélie penguin, or it might give you some serious shit.