'Fat' penguins walk on treadmills for University of London study

By Ben Hooper  |  Feb. 26, 2016 at 11:31 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A University of London researcher shared video of penguins walking on treadmills to test their ability to balance while walking after putting on weight.

Astrid Willener from the University of London's department of life sciences led a team studying Antarctica's male king penguins, which put on a large amount of weight once every breeding cycle so they can fast while taking care of eggs.

Willener and her team put the penguins on treadmills before and after their fast to see how the extra weight affects their ability to walk.

The findings were revealed by the study's title: "Fat King Penguins Are Less Steady on Their Feet."

"Further research, such as investigating different walking speeds and including gyroscope recordings, may elucidate biomechanical adaptations developed by this primarily aquatic bird to its terrestrial environment, which can involve carrying extensive body fat reserves over distance," the study says.

The team shared sped-up footage of the penguins walking on treadmills to illustrate their findings.

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