emperor_penguin_colony_at_halley

Ten new colonies of emperor penguins have been found in Antarctica after satellite photos showing brownish stains on the ice turned out to be the excrement of thousands of birds.

The findings, revealed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), will help understand penguin populations and the vulnerability to global warming of the breeding colonies which are on sea ice.

“We now reckon there are 38 colonies in Antarctica, 10 of them previously unknown,” Phil Trathan, a BAS penguin ecologist, told Reuters of the study in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography…

Experts studying images taken from space were initially baffled by reddish-brown splodges on the ice.

It turned out they were the feces, guano stains, of the emperors,” Trathan said. “There’s a really good contrast between the dark poo stains and the ice…”

“We can’t see actual penguins on the satellite maps because the resolution isn’t good enough. But during the breeding season the birds stay at a colony for eight months. The ice gets pretty dirty and it’s the guano stains that we can see,” BAS mapping expert Peter Fretwell said in a statement.

Trathan said British, U.S., French and Australian experts were using more powerful imagery to try to count emperor penguins — perhaps the only species of bird that never puts feet on land.

Can you imagine trying to explain this to explorers even seventy years ago?




  1. Dallas says:

    Very similar to the guano stains left by the last Republican emperor.

  2. bobbo says:

    “Can you imagine trying to explain this to explorers even seventy years ago?” /// Huh? Explain what? Animals have always been tracked by their shit.

    Interesting concept: the excrement of living things. How it builds, how it limits.

    Extra-terrestrials no doubt do the global equivalent by measuring the CO2 in the atmosphere. Just more excrement, of a sort.

  3. ethanol says:

    Anyone going to scream that the dark colored excrement is adding to global warming by absorbing UV rays, unlike the nice white snow and ice which reflect the rays back?

  4. MrMiGu says:

    #3
    Penguins didnt just start sh!tting, so their crap has been absorbing UV rays in these miniscule areas of snow.

  5. newrepublican says:

    So, uh, bobbo – how many artificial satellite do you know of – 70 years ago?

  6. ECA says:

    I think it is MARVELOUS, that scientists are learning an OLD tracking trick..

  7. sargasso says:

    In Soviet Russia, emperor pooped in pants.

  8. qb says:

    The same could be said for humans.

  9. Angel H. Wong says:

    No shit Sherlock.

  10. bobbo says:

    #5–NewRepub==thanks. NOW it makes sense.

    I guess I honor my father’s generation by thinking that in 1930’s just about anyone could understand the concept of satellite tracking: “Imagine flying an airplane up high enough that you could see half the world at a time.

    I think they could handle it since science fiction and even movies had already taken them to space and beyond.

  11. I love earth says:

    The bigger issue here is that studying this shit will someday save the world from any further barrages of untreated scientific diarrhea.

  12. Mr Diesel says:

    #11 bobbo

    I am sure someone will point out whether I’m correct or not but I don’t believe you can ever see half the world no matter how high you were to fly a plane. Almost half but never half.

    But your Father’s generation was a lot smarter than ours though, I’ll give you that.


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