How does a penguin launch itself from the sea? – The Wonder of Animals | BBC

The emperor is the largest species of penguin Weighing in up to 38 kilograms a third of which is Blubber The more body fat the more likely they are to survive the coming winter But to maintain it they need to hunt diving longer and deeper than any other penguin They hold their breath for up to 20 minutes at a time to maximize their chance of finding food and building up their vital fat stores But all that bulk comes out of price and poses an interesting problem How does a bird the same weight as a baby, hippo get itself back out of the water? a recent revelatory study suggests an intriguing solution. A team of European scientists Recently looked again in more detail at some long observed penguin behavior. At the end of a long dive Instead of jumping straight out of the water many Emperor’s surface for a short time and then dive back down again Only then ,they shoot back up to the surface this time accelerating clear of the water. So why do they have this temporary pit stop? The obvious answer is that they return for a much-needed gulp of air and a bit of rest, before diving back down to pick up enough speed for their grand exit But what the research team now think is going on is actually a lot more interesting when the birds come to the surface they appear to preen In fact, they are actively collecting air within a fine downy mesh at the base of their feathers As the penguins descend, the water pressure increases reducing the volume of the trapped air by up to 75%. The Birds again rely on their individual muscles at the base of each feather This time they clamp them shut locking in the compacted air that they’ve collected When it’s time to exit the penguin then swims upwards as fast as it can The trapped air in the plumage expands during their ascent and pause through the feathers Producing the bubbly wakes we can see behind them the tiny micro bubbles form a lubricating coat of air that surrounds the penguin This drastically reduces drag and allows them to accelerate to twice their normal swimming speed at the point they leave the water this flightless bird finally becomes airborne

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