Recent research has revealed that the Emperor penguin group assembly practices are far more precise than previously believed, including the choreography of football stadium-like waves.
The Antarctic is a cold, punishing place with temperatures falling into the sixty-below zero Fahrenheit range and winds howling at up to 125 miles per hour.
To survive the extreme chill, emperor penguins have been known to form huddled mobs to capitalize on body heat.
Recent research has revealed that the assembly practice is carefully orchestrated and is far more precise than previously believed, resulting in movements resembling a football stadium wave.
The formations and movements are based a personal space requirement of about three-quarters of an inch.
Notably, the desired distance between them has been estimated to be 2 times the thickness of their dense feather coats as a means of maximizing the warming power of their individual natural insulation.
The wave begins when the vacant area between the penguins is higher or lower than the acceptable threshold.
Movement can be triggered when a penguin joins the group, or by any shifting around done by the ones inside of it.
The adjustments radiate from the catalyst, and group motion is set off every 30 to 60 seconds.
These waves are how separate groups come together to form the continually growing clusters.