Studying chinstrap penguins, employees of the Lyon Neurobiological Research Center found out that these birds sleep quite differently from humans. If for people a short-term dip in sleep indicates serious fatigue, then for penguins it is completely normal. It turned out that during the day these birds fall asleep up to a hundred thousand times, indulging in sleep for an average of 4 seconds. This allows them to “gain” physiologically necessary sleep duration of 11 hours.
The article about it was published in the journal Science. The authors of the study believe that such “sleep tactics” in penguins due to the need to always be vigilant. Penguins have to keep an eye on laid eggs while their partners are foraging for food. They may be absent for several days, and during this time the nest must be reliably guarded – neighbors can easily encroach on the materials from which it is made.
During the experiment, 14 penguins in the King George Island colony were implanted with special electrodes. Sensors recorded electrical activity in the muscles of the neck and brain, and accelerometers gave an idea of the birds’ location and movements. By comparing the data with video recordings and live observations, the scientists revealed a host of curious features inherent in penguins – including their special sleep tactics.