Photo: ‘Emperor Penguins’ by Christopher Michel


Staying warm and dry

The Emperor Penguin’s – Aptenodytes forsteri – feathers provide excellent insulation in both air and water. They are part of a complex layering system that keeps heat from escaping the penguin’s tiny body and have inspired clothing, as well as, building design. Their bodies have several layers of insulation; On the outside, there are the tightly packed feathers. Their feathers are very small in size, short and stiff, and are tightly packed with more than 70 feathers per square inch. They are also waterproof because they overlap and are coated with oil. Under the feathers, there is a continuous layer of air all-round the body. Then the skin, and under the skin, is a thick layer of fat called blubber.

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