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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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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.