View Full Version : Stupid penguins

03-14-2005, 02:16 PM
While browsing through the procrastinators.org news page I saw a link to an old cnn.com article (http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/11/03/fringe.penguins.reut/index.html) that I thought was funny:

Scientists ask: Do penguins really fall over?
November 3, 2000
Web posted at: 9:07 AM EST (1407 GMT)

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Do penguins fall over backward when watching aircraft fly overhead?

Two British scientists are traveling to South Georgia in the south Atlantic to find answers to that question and others from a study of the island's 400,000 King Penguins.

Scientists have usually been skeptical about reports of penguins falling over backward to watch aircraft flying above them. But a senior officer on the British navy ship HMS Endurance, which is taking the scientific team to South Georgia, said he believed the reports.

"The penguins always look up at the helicopters and follow them all the way until they fall over backward," Stuart Matthews, the ship's operations officer, told the Daily Telegraph.

Dr. Richard Stone of the British Antarctic Survey told Reuters that scientists were concerned that low-flying aircraft could cause stress among penguins and affect their breeding performance.

"There may be an increase in heart rate as helicopters fly over," Stone said.

"The worst possible effect is that there would be a reduction in their breeding performance. If they were incubating eggs this could be quite devastating for them."

Stone said helicopters from HMS Endurance would fly at different altitudes over the penguins to help in the research.

Stupid penguins. I can't keep from giggling while trying to picture this.

03-14-2005, 02:21 PM
That was 5 years ago. Can you find a followup article?

03-14-2005, 02:35 PM
From a few months later on a BBC site (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1149900.stm):

Friday, 2 February, 2001, 11:34 GMT
Penguins wobble but they don't fall down

They may waddle away in fright but they don't fall over

The myth that penguins topple over when they watch aircraft flying overhead has finally been laid to rest.
British researchers sent to the Antarctic to investigate the impact of military flights on local bird populations say the animals may wobble a bit but they remain upright.

For five weeks, a team from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) monitored 1,000 king penguins on the island of South Georgia as Lynx helicopters passed overhead.

"Not one king penguin fell over when the helicopters came over," said team leader Dr Richard Stone.

"As the aircraft approached, the birds went quiet and stopped calling to each other, and adolescent birds that were not associated with nests began walking away from the noise. Pure animal instinct, really."

'Minor and transitory'

The conclusion, said Dr Stone, is that flights over 305 metres (1,000 feet) caused "only minor and transitory ecological effects" on king penguins.

The research was prompted by fears that the penguins' breeding patterns might be disrupted by aircraft activity in the region.

The myth of the toppling penguins has been circulating ever since pilots returned from the 1982 Falklands War. Some servicemen claimed the birds would topple backwards while gawping at aircraft.

The BAS team videoed penguins as helicopters flew over at different altitudes. Two colonies of birds were filmed before, during and after the flights. The recordings were analysed back at the survey's Cambridge headquarters.

A second set of experiments using fixed wing aircraft is now planned.

So apparently it may not be true. But the image of it still makes me giggle.

Some more data from metafilter.com (http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/5662):

A small team of British researchers spent $36,000 and five weeks finding this out. Another study is planned soon with fixed-wing aircraft.

The government will shell out big bucks for researchers to study anything.

03-14-2005, 02:58 PM
This kind of closure makes me happy. Thank goodness for worthwhile research.

the animals may wobble a bit but they remain upright.lol

03-14-2005, 04:43 PM
I wonder if Penguin tastes any good.

03-14-2005, 04:53 PM
I need a grant to study this behavior:
http://img190.exs.cx/img190/634/penguinslap1nu.gif (http://www.imageshack.us)

03-14-2005, 05:10 PM
That's actually the first thing I thought of when I visited this thread.

03-14-2005, 05:30 PM
>>I wonder if Penguin tastes any good. <<

A little stringier than American condor but not nearly as bad as bald eagle.

03-14-2005, 05:44 PM
I will eat anything.

03-14-2005, 11:19 PM
Snopes: Air Bowling for Penguins (http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/penguin.htm)

I wonder if Penguin tastes any good.

Penguin latest food - available in abundance soon (http://www.goliathcorp.com/penguin.html)

Penguins could be the Sunday roast of choice if a plan to use the world penguin surplus goes ahead, Goliath Food Chiefs announced yesterday. Penguins, long considered to be inedible by even the most hardiest of sailors, have recently been discovered to taste a lot like veal, if cooked for long enough.

The stupid looking seabird, once considered 'cute' and 'funny' but now known to be a violent desecrator of the beautiful unspoilt wilderness of Antarctica, will be available as a frozen dish by as early as next month. As part of the launch of this abundant new foodstuff, There will be a special penguin cookery show on GoliathChannel 16, as well as a highly amusing advertising campaign with the catchy phrase: 'P-p-p-prepare a p-p-penguin!'

Opposition for the new foodstuff has been minor, with only nine people (figures adjusted for accuracy) claiming that the penguin should not be eaten. "The thing is," said Mr White, Goliath's head nutritionist, "is that by eating only one penguin a week you can make up your entire recommended weekly intake of penguin, which we have decided is . . . one penguin."

Mrs Sutton of Sidcup was one of the first lucky housewives to be offered penguin and she told us: "At first, I was wary of the seabird. We had tried Great Auk and found it a bit stringy. But once we had eaten it, we will be having penguin every week - goodbye chicken!"

Claims from opposition groups that Goliath were simply 'raping Antarctica' are unfounded. None of the 3.2 million penguins currently available to consumers originate from the Goliath-owned continent, but are reared in an eco-friendly farm in Norfolk.

Do Penguins taste nice? (http://www.birdworld.co.uk/qanda.htm#40)
It may sound like a strange question but people do actually eat penguins. In Antarctica there are research stations where scientists live for months or even years so for them having a penguin for dinner is much like us having a Sunday roast. From their experiences we have been told that they taste like duck and that they also have a high oil content, due to all the fish that they eat.
Guano miners also eat penguins whilst they are working near to Humboldt colonies; this however is bad news, as the Humboldt penguin is now a critically endangered species. Guano is old piles of penguin poo and it is mined for as it makes a good fertiliser, this practice is also detrimental to the wild Humboldt penguin population.

A Matter Of Taste (http://www.wombatcreek.com/splod/joke09/122.htm)
A guy is arrested and brought into court for killing and eating a fairy penguin.

The judge sternly rebukes him for doing this to an endangered species and sentences him to a jail term.

The guy pleads with the judge for mercy saying, "Please, your honor! I was starving and I just had to get something to eat or I would have died so I killed and ate the fairy penguin!"

The judge takes pity on him and says, "Well, under the circumstances, I will let you go free. By the way, what did the fairy penguin taste like?"

The guy replies, "Oh, I'd say it tasted a lot like koala."

QUESTION: Can you eat penguins? What do they taste like? (http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica/QA/animals/Penguin_Survival)

ANSWER from Polly Penhale on January 12, 1995
Penguins are an excellent food source for many animals in Antarctica,
such as leopard seals and killer whales, but people shouldn't eat them!

Under the Antarctic Treaty, birds and mammals are protected. The
United States passed a law called the Antarctic Conservation Act,
which prohibits U.S. citizens from harming birds such as penguins. As
for taste, my guess is that they would taste oily and fishy, as their diet
consists of krill, which are shrimp-like animals in the ocean.

ANSWER from Michael Castellini on January 13, 1995
The only examples I know of where humans ate penguins were in
some of the early explorations of the Antarctic. Since there are also
penguins in Africa, South America, New Zealand and other warmer
places, it is possible that people who lived there ate these birds at some
point. I don't know anyone who has tasted penguin, but I would think
that it would taste like fish, not chicken! Since these birds eat fish,
squid and krill, their meat would probably have lots of marine oils and
taste to it!

If you really want to know, you can order a domesticated (not sure if they taste the same as the wild variety) penguin from the Penguin Warehouse (http://www.penguinwarehouse.com/).

Jeremy G
03-14-2005, 11:25 PM
I was going to reply to this thread earlier, but I just got back up from when i fell over watching the fly fly over my head.