Trippy-looking thermal photos show penguins are even colder than the surrounding air
Obviously penguins have a high tolerance for cold — they live in some of the most frigid places on Earth. But until researchers took thermal images of the penguins on a chilly night, we didn’t realize that for them, the Arctic wind probably feels warm. Much of the outside surface of a penguin’s body, it turns out, is actually colder than the surrounding sub-zero air.
The penguins weren’t freezing or anything — far from it. The birds maintain a pretty consistent core temperature, which is significantly higher than the temperature of the surrounding air. The penguins’ feathers don’t transfer cold back to their skin, so they’re really not feeling it. But the low surface temperature does make them look super ’80s radical in thermal photos — so it may not be making them cold, but it’s definitely making them coooooool.
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