EMPEROR PENGUINS: LESS DEDICATED DADS THAN YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT

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Oct. 26 - 2018
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Male emperor penguins are famous for going without food for up to 115 days while they mate and then shelter a solitary egg from the brutal winter winds.


But researchers who visited a different colony say they witnessed the animals taking breaks from their breeding duties to go fishing in the winter darkness, challenging the popular notion that they are nature’s most dedicated dads.



Before they left, the researchers tagged four birds with satellite tags and water switches that allowed them to track how far the animals travelled and how often they entered the sea. The data confirmed that the penguins continued to take moonlight swims throughout the breeding season. The researchers believe the males ceased their hunting activity once the females laid their eggs.


The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, suggest that previous research on emperor penguins was focused on too small a population to be taken as representative for the entire species.

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