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Tiny penguins turn blue

Posted on Tuesday, 15 February, 2011 | Comment icon 13 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: sxc.hu

 
By Scáthach, Staff News Writer

Scientists have discovered a special protein in fairy penguins that turns their feathers blue.

The fairy penguin may stand only 1 foot tall but it stands out for its unique appearance. "The mechanisms that produce structural coloration in animals is so little studied that I am not surprised at all that a new mechanism was found in penguins," says Geoffrey Hill of Auburn University.

"For the last 30 years only two ways of making a non-iridescent blue feathers were known, both which depend on holes in a spongy-like matrix of a protein called beta-keratin."

  View: Full article

 Source: CBS News


  Discuss: View comments (13)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by aquatus1 on 12 February, 2011, 12:18
Cool blue penguins, and neat matrix thing on the feathers...a little dramatic, I think, the whole "shatters current dogma", but otherwise, cool find.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Lilly on 12 February, 2011, 14:54
Oh...pretty penguin! Do they also come in pink?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Mistydawn on 13 February, 2011, 9:06
Only weighing 2 pounds.. wee cuties.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Tim.C Melbourne on 15 February, 2011, 12:56
There was a colony of these penguins near where I used to live. The curious little fellas used to swim right up to us while we were surfing, within arms reach. Although seeing a flash of black out of the corner of my eye before I realised what it was was enough to send shivers down my spine... (but the seals, dolphins & southern right whales did a better job of this!)
Comment icon #8 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 15 February, 2011, 15:22
Reminds me of Easter Chicks:
Comment icon #9 Posted by cav3man. on 15 February, 2011, 22:17
They are cold! Give them a blanket or something
Comment icon #10 Posted by Tim.C Melbourne on 15 February, 2011, 23:22
They are warmer than you!
Comment icon #11 Posted by star energy on 16 February, 2011, 19:04
I want one! If it wasn't one of natures wildlife I'd diffentally have one as a pet! I'd call him Sky or maybe just plain Blue.
Comment icon #12 Posted by slowfade on 26 February, 2011, 19:08
A bad penguin-related joke, in celebration of these cute little fellas: Q: Why don't polar bears eat penguins? A: They can't get the wrappers off. ... I'll get me coat...
Comment icon #13 Posted by Mistydawn on 27 February, 2011, 12:50
A bad penguin-related joke, in celebration of these cute little fellas: Q: Why don't polar bears eat penguins? A: They can't get the wrappers off. ... I'll get me coat... Oh, I don't know, it wasn't that bad.... Question: What do penguins have for lunch? Answer: Iceburgers Question: Why don't you see penguins in Britain? Answer: Cause they are afraid of Wales.


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