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Penguins make sounds underwater and scientists do not know why

Penguins are amazing birds, but as it turns out, wenot everyone knew about them. Recently, scientists managed to capture the sounds that penguins make underwater. This behavior was first detected in seabirds. It is known that penguins, like other seabirds, have a high voice and regularly communicate on land. They also communicate when their heads are above the water. In the past, researchers believed that a possible reason for this behavior is the need to form groups for hunting fish and crustaceans. A study published in the journal Zoological Science confirmed that penguins also make sounds underwater, just like some other air-breathing marine predators, such as whales and dolphins. But why?

Penguin bowed head preparing for the hunt

Penguins are the first seabirds to make sounds underwater

As Newsweek writes, a group of scientists inled by Andre Thibault of the University of Nelson Mandela in South Africa for a long time wanted to explore the communication of penguins under water. To do this, they equipped adult penguins of three species - royal, subantarctic and golden-haired - with video cameras with built-in microphones. To the surprise of Thibault and his colleagues, the team recorded a total of 203 underwater vocalizations from penguins recorded during the month of 2019. These are the first recordings of seabirds vocalizing underwater. The vocals recorded by the team sound like quick shouts and have a short duration - on average about 0.06 seconds. Penguins emit these sounds while diving in search of food. It is currently unclear why penguins make these sounds; however, they only produce them during the hunt.

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Researchers agree that these soundsindicate hunting behavior. It is also noteworthy that penguins were usually alone when they made sounds, which indicates that communication was not the main goal. It is possible that penguins use vocalization to stun their prey. However, much more research is needed to determine the exact cause of this behavior, scientists say.

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Penguins communicate with each other on land, but the reason for underwater vocalization remains a mystery to scientists

Mysterious vocalization

Researchers also suggest that find outThe true cause of vocalization underwater is only possible by conducting experiments in which these sounds are reproduced in a controlled environment. This will help determine their effect on predatory animals. Scientists also know that voice communication between seabirds plays a crucial role when it comes to reproduction.

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During mating season, adults regularlymove between their forage land at sea and nesting colonies on land, where they care for nests and feed chicks, the authors of a scientific article write. Each time birds return to the colony, they must find and identify their partner and / or their offspring. In this context, acoustic signals are necessary for individual recognition. However, the use of vocal sounds in the sea, where penguins spend most of their time, is poorly understood.