Forty centimetres. Well, you did ask. In their study “Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh – Calculations on Avian Defaecation” (Polar Biology, 2003) the researchers looked at how far a penguin could poo, and worked out how much pressure there was inside said penguin. “Whether the bird deliberately chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its faeces or whether this depends on the direction from which the wind blows at the time of evacuation are questions that need to be addressed on another expedition to Antarctica,” they said, rather optimistically.
Or “digital rectal massage”. One for the “treatment is worse than disease” files, possibly. This won the medicine prize in 1998, and, in fairness to it, it is preferable to treating intractable hiccups with anti-spasmodic drugs.
Fans of March of the Penguins, look away now: “Next to the obviously dead duck, another male mallard… mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force.” Winner of the biology award in 2001, and the product of some serendipity, after the author happened to see one duck smash headlong into his window, killing itself, and then see another duck come along and have its wicked way.
Ripe limburger cheese, to be precise. They’re as likely to go for the cheese as they are for your foot odour (which is how they find you, apparently). The feet and the cheese share a bacterium. It might not make you want to eat limburger, but it’s important in the understanding the spread of a disease that kills tens of millions worldwide every year.
From Andy, Why folks look into these questions one is only left wondering. If you learned something today I have no idea how you will use that knowledge. Andy