Putting Pressure on a Penguin

king-penguins_250w.jpgOnly recently did people learn how much pressure it takes to rouse a sleeping penguin. G?rard Dewasmes and Fr?d?ric Telliez, of l’Universit? de Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens, lay claim to the discovery.

Dewasmes and Telliez went to the Antarctic, where they tiptoed up to nearly a dozen dozing King penguins. Their study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, is an eye-opener for anyone who dreams of becoming expert in the fine details of bird arousal.

Very few scientists had even ventured to prod penguins, measuring how much or little pain or noise would induce a rise-and-shine response. Dewasmes and Telliez sought a subtler kind of knowledge, and took a gingerly approach….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.