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How to Spot Your Penguin Partner

African penguins tell each other apart by the dot patterns on their chests.

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by Marina Wang

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Standing out in a crowd can be tough. Studies suggest that African penguins in a colony tell each other apart by sound, but scientists recently wondered if they also identify one another using visual cues.

Between the ages of three and five months old, African penguins develop a distinct constellation of spots on their chests, which remain the same throughout their lives. Zookeepers often use these spots to identify individuals, and scientists have trained AI programs to recognize the patterns when analyzing video footage. To find out if the birds do the same, Luigi Baciadonna, a psychologist at the University of Turin in Italy, and his colleagues designed an experimental series with the help of six bonded pairs of African penguins from Zoomarine, an Italian marine park.

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Cite this Article:

Cite this Article: Marina Wang “How to Spot Your Penguin Partner,” Hakai Magazine, Jan 18, 2024, accessed June 15th, 2024, https://hakaimagazine.com/videos-visuals/how-to-spot-your-penguin-partner/.


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