A penguin's poop may be the last thing on your mind to study, but not for the Japanese researchers and the previous researchers who published their findings on how far penguins can poop.
The physics of penguin pooping has been studied many times before. According to Ars Technica, a published paper back in 2003 focused more on the amount of pressure a penguin poops with. Additionally, the research was so well-received that it was awarded a Nobel Prize.
With this new round of research, Japanese scientists have expanded the original findings into revealing that penguin poopers are even more extraordinary than previously thought.
Pressure and Trajectory of a Penguin's Poop
Penguins are known for their dedication to their offspring even before they hatch. They cannot spare even a second to leave their nest to take care of business and heed the call of nature. To solve this, penguins just simply lean a bit and fire their watery poop from where they stand.
The poop cannon has considerable power, sending a stream of fecal matter at a far distance, far enough from the nest that it will not pose an issue to them--unless another penguin is near or standing in the line of fire, then surely they will be hit.
The new study by the Japanese researchers took the findings in 2003 and looked at it from a different angle. Specifically, they said that previous researchers noted in their study that penguins always defecate horizontally, but Japanese scientists said that it is not always the case.
There are some penguins who put some real effort into it and fire it on an upward trajectory that forms an arc.
They took into account the fact that some of the nests are in an elevated location. This allows the penguins to poop at even a farther distance than they might if they are in a perfectly flat landscape.
Considering this, the researchers recalculated the maximum distance that the penguins will be able to fire their poop and have arrived at the conclusion that the distance will be equivalent to 4.39 feet or about 1.34 meters.
Furthermore, the researchers also decided to recalculate the pressure that the internals of the penguin would have to reach in order for them to send their poop flying as far as it does. Their findings suggest that the pressure must be higher than scientists previously suspected.
This makes the whole penguin pooping process a lot more interesting.
Why studying penguin's pooping process is important
It is a wonder why there are scientists who would be interested in studying an animal's process of pooping as it's a topic that only a few are interested in. But what's the point of studying it at all?
According to the researchers, knowing the dynamics of penguin pooping is important for the zookeepers, as it allows them to create a better plan for excursions into artificial penguin habitats.
Those keepers who know how far their animals can shoot their poop are much less likely to be struck by it, as no one would like being hit by a watery poop.