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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Emperor Penguins Sport Freezing Tuxedoes
5 March 2013 7:15 pm
Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are famous for their dapper outerwear, but that feather coat actually gets colder than the surrounding frigid air, according to a study published online today in Biology Letters. A team of Scottish and French scientists took hundreds of thermal images (like the one above) of emperor penguins at a breeding colony in Antarctica. This provided a snapshot of the birds' body heat regulation in the harsh environment. On average, a penguin's body surface temperature dropped as low as -23°C, about 3° below air temperature. The coat radiates more heat to the cold sky than it absorbs from its surroundings, the team reports, causing the temperature to drop below that of the surrounding air, while thick insulation reduces body heat loss from the skin. Emperor penguins do have "hot spots": their eyes, flippers, and feet. But, special vessels circulate blood away from these surfaces to keep heat loss to a minimum.
See more ScienceShots.