Cute chick rover: A new way to spy on shy penguins - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cute chick rover: A new way to spy on shy penguins

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Scientists are using a robotic penguin to spy on notoriously shy Emperor penguins. Photo: Hannes Grobe / Wikimedia Commons / MGN Scientists are using a robotic penguin to spy on notoriously shy Emperor penguins. Photo: Hannes Grobe / Wikimedia Commons / MGN
WASHINGTON -

The newest tool for biologists is the baby penguin robotic spy.

It's pretty darn cute, and so convincing that penguins essentially talk to it, as if it is a potential mate for their chicks.

Emperor penguins are notoriously shy. When researchers approach, these penguins normally back away and their heart rate goes up.

That's not what the scientists need when they want to check heart rate, health and other penguin parameters.

So international scientists and even filmmakers, led by Yvon Le Maho of the University of Strasbourg in France, created a remote control rover disguised as a chick. It snuggled up to the penguins.

They didn't scamper away and even sang to the rover with trumpet-like sounds.

The study is published Sunday by the journal Nature Methods.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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