How do you make a penguin even cuter? By strapping GoPros to its head and back.
Researchers from the Korea Polar Research Institute chose 26 Gentoo penguins at random and stuck the cameras to their bodies using waterproof tape. They then observed the creatures during two Antarctic breeding seasons (2014-2015 and 2015-2016). The findings were published this week in the online journal Scientific Reports.
Some of the most important discoveries involved animal communication. The scientists recorded 598 penguin calls and found out they’re not just adorable, they’re multipurpose—penguins honk to exchange information, form groups and coordinate movements. Researchers were especially interested in “offshore calls,” or the sounds penguins make when they’re out swimming.
These calls are pretty effective—almost 50 percent of the time, penguins formed groups or swam to new areas within a minute of hearing a call.
There are also more specialized calls—for example, hungry chicks let out a “begging moan” when they’re asking for food.
When the team examined the video footage, they noticed that the penguins took quick shallow dives after making a call, likely because the calls cost energy and decreased oxygen.
Aside from analyzing dives and acoustics, the scientists also examined the penguins’ foraging and group behavior patterns.
But the best part is that the videos the penguins shot are now online. The animals captured some amazing footage of calls and dives.
The Korean team plans to continue their penguin research, which means there are more cute videos to come.