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How the Penguin Got Its Waddle

PHOTOGRAPH BY GUY CORBISHLEY / ALAMY
PHOTOGRAPH BY GUY CORBISHLEY / ALAMY

In the penguin exhibit at the London Zoo, there is a small V.I.P. section, cordoned off with low boulders, where paying guests can meet the birds and pose for selfies. On a recent chilly Friday morning, John Hutchinson, of London’s Royal Veterinary College, and James Proffitt, of the University of Texas at Austin, ventured into the area with other plans. The biologists set up a kind of corridor, a long wooden platform with Lucite walls, and began fitting it with metal force plates—two small, about the width and length of a shoebox, and one large, about three times bigger. “They’re like fancy 3-D bathroom scales,” Hutchinson told me, designed to measure force side to side, front to back, and downward.

 

 

The New Yorker, March 12, 2015

BBC, March 16, 2015

Featuring: James Proffitt, Ph.D student, The Jackson School of Geosciences