Penguins Do the Wave to Keep Warm
New video of huddling penguins shows the birds do the wave—not to show team spirit but to give each a turn in the toasty center. Video.
New, sped-up video of an emperor penguin huddle in Antarctica shows the group takes small steps, creating a wave. Researchers say the undulations ensure each penguin a turn in the middle of the cluster, which helps the birds keep warm.
When the temperature is as cold as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it helps if there’s a warm body nearby.
Emperor penguins in the Antarctic are known to huddle together for warmth. But what we didn’t realize was that they were creating a ‘wave’ when new penguins joined the huddle, and that wave helped move the huddle en masse.
Physicist Daniel Zitterbart from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany recorded high-resolution time-lapse images of the huddle near the Neumayer Antarctic Research Station. They were